The prospect of a wet track and the fact that Black Heart Bart hasn’t won over 1600m are two testing factors the short priced favourite faces in the Group 1 $500,000 PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday.
The Flemington track is rated a Good 3 on Friday morning but with rain forecast to hit Melbourne during the day, a downgrade is a possibility.
Black Heart Bart’s form record shows one placing from one run on a soft track and he finished out of a place at his only attempt on the heavy and trainer Darren Weir said that he runs his best races on a good surface with thirteen wins, eight seconds and two thirds from thirty starts on top of the ground.
“The rain would be a bit of a worry. He (Black Heart Bart) handles the slow, but I don’t know about the heavy,” Weir told The Herald Sun.
Weir said that Black Heart Bart has progressed well since his first up win in the Group 1 $500,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 27.
“I watched him work at the beach and he’s in great shape,” Weir said.
While Black Heart Bart hasn’t recorded a win over 1600m, Weir is not overly concerned as he has raced at distances beyond 1600m and did run third over 1800m in the 2014 Listed $100,000 J.C. Roberts Stakes at Ascot in Perth as a three year old when trained by Vaughan Sigley.
Black Heart Bart remains at the top of the Makybe Diva Stakes market order at $2.25 with Ladbrokes.com.au with his stablemate Palentino on the second line of betting at $6.
Weir said that Palentino has also continued to improve since running fifth to Black Heart Bart in the Memsie Stakes and he is expecting another pleasing run from the four year old who scored his major win over the same course and distance as the Makybe Diva Stakes when he won the Group 1 $750,000 Australian Guineas during the Melbourne Autumn Carnival earlier in the year.
“He’s getting closer to peak fitness,’’ Weir said.
“He looked great and he’s gradually building up.”
The premiership winning trainer will also saddle up last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance ($61) as he continues his march towards the first Tuesday in November at Flemington to defend his crown.
Market order for the Makybe Diva Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.25 Black Heart Bart, $6 Palentino, $8.50 Rising Romance, $11 Tarzino, Our Ivanhowe, $14 Alpine Eagle, $15 Entirely Platinum, $19 He Or She, $26 Sofia Rosa, Jacquinot Bay, $34 Happy Trails, $61 Prince Of Penzance, $201 Ayres Rock.