The Group 2 $200,000 Browns Sawdust And Savings Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night is virtually a Group 1 line up with half of the ten horse field already recording Group 1 wins.
Victoria’s leading trainer Darren Weir has Black Heart Bart and Palentino lining up in the weight for age sprint and both have won at Group 1 level.
Black Heart Bart is having his first run back from a successful 2016 Spring Carnival that saw him win two Group 1 races at Caulfield, the $500,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) and the $500,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m).
Brad Rawiller rode Black Hart Bart for the majority of his Spring Carnival outings and gets the ride again in the Australia Stakes.
Black Heart Bart has drawn barrier three in the ten horse Australia Stakes field while Palentino will jump from gate five with Damian Lane in the saddle.
Palentino claimed his second Group 1 win when he beat Black Heart Bart in the $500,000 PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 10 and will be having his first run back after finishing eighth to Awesome Rock in the Group 1 $2m Emirates Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on November 5.
Three times Group 1 winner Turn Me Loose has drawn the rails with Kerrin McEvoy to ride but co-trainer Murray Baker expects the 1200m of the Australia Stakes to be too short for the Kiwi galloper.
“He’s never been a fresh-up horse,” Baker said.
“He has won a trial (in New Zealand) but it’s the same as the late spring. The 1200m is too short for him but we just had to kick him off.
“The story is to get him to the Orr and to the Futurity, which he won last year.
“He’s a five-year-old stallion and it just takes a bit to get them going.”
Moe trainer Peter Gelagotis will also saddled up his two Group 1 winners, Malaguerra and Mourinho.
Malaguerra scored his second Group 1 win in the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington during the 2016 Melbourne Spring Carnival and has drawn awkwardly at barrier nine with Ben Melham in the saddle again.
While 2015 Group 1 Underwood Stakes winner Mourinho will be having his first run for eleven months after finishing third to Bow Creek in the 2016 Group 2 $200,000 Crown Golden Ale Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield.
Craig Newitt takes the ride on Mourinho who will jump from gate six.
John O’Shea’s promising sprinter Chetwood will be stepping up to Group 2 company for the first time in the Australia Stakes after working his way up through the grades with four straight wins during the 2016 Spring Carnival.
The Exceed And Excel four year old has drawn barrier eight with James Doyle to ride while stablemate Peacock has drawn well at gate two with Craig Williams in the saddle.