A tight battle is looming in early betting for the Group 2 $200,000 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday with multiple Group 1 winners Black Heart Bart and Hartnell fighting for favouritism.
Ladbrokes.com.au have installed the Darren Weir trained Black Heart Hart as the early $3.20 favourite with Godolphin’s star Hartnell challenging for the top spot at $3.30.
Black Heart Bart is the winner of five Group 1 races and will be having his first run back since finishing fifth to Clearly Innocent in the Group 1 $700,000 Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup (1300m) at Eagle Farm on May 27.
Black Heart Bart is a Caulfield 1400m specialist and is undefeated from four starts over the P.B. Lawrence Stakes course and distance which includes a win last year’s Group 1 $500,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes.
The Memsie Stakes has had it’s prizemoney doubled to a $1 million this year and will be targeted again by Black Heart Heart after the P.B. Lawrence Stakes.
Hartnell will be having his first look at Caulfield for new trainer James Cummings but no doubt he will be happy with no Winx anywhere in sight.
Hartnell has won at Group 1 level on two occasions but has several placings behind Chris Waller’s champion mare over the last two years which includes his last start second to Winx in the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 8.
The English import also led the charge home behind Winx when second in last year’s Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley but that is unlikely to happen again this year with Cummings aiming Hartnell towards the Group 1 $3m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 21 while Winx will be chasing her third consecutive win in the ‘Weight For Age Championship’.
“We will kick him off in the P B Lawrence and we’ll just go from there,” Cummings told RSN.
“We are going to try to stick to a path that she (Winx) is not necessarily going to be treading down, hopefully.
“He would probably get about 57 (kilograms in the Caulfield Cup). But all things being equal, he would be our top seed for the race.
“We’re certainly going to think about it but we can probably decide that after Turnbull Stakes day. And that is exactly when we would know what we are doing there.”
Comeback sprinter Lankan Rupee is on the third line of betting for the P.B. Lawrence Stakes at $7 just ahead of Black Heart Bart’s stablemates Humidor and Tosen Stardom at $9.
Early betting for the P.B. Lawrence Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.20 Black Heart Bart, $3.30 Hartnell, $7 Lankan Rupee, $9 Humidor, Tosen Stardom, $11 Duke Of Brunswick, $15 He’s Our Rokkii, $17 Gailo Chop, Inference, $21 Seaburge, Star Exhibit, $26 Charmed Harmony, $34 Abbey Marie, Divine Mr Artie, $41 Tashbeeh, $51 Amelie’s Star, $67 Montoya’s Secret, $201 Bettyrae Ruby.