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Group 1 winners Foreteller, Shamus Award, Polanski and Hawkspur are all set to clash at Caulfield this weekend after being included in the 2014 Orr Stakes nominations.
Shamus Award will be returning to the races for the first time since he broke his maiden with an historic win in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26 last year.
The Snitzel colt had performed consistently throughout his racing career, finishing second in the Group 2 Stutt Stakes (1600m) and third in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m), but had been unable to record a race win in his ten previous starts.
The Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) is the major autumn target for the three-year-old and trainer Danny O’Brien is confident that he can start his 2014 Melbourne Festival Of Racing campaign with a win in the Orr Stakes.
Polanski also finished his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a win at Group 1 level, taking out the Victoria Derby (2500m) in dominant fashion, and looks to have returned for his autumn preparation in good condition after finishing a strong third in a barrier trial at Cranbourne on January 30.
The Rakti colt was the star three-year-old stayer of the spring and trainer Robbie Laing is hopeful that he can perform at weight-for-age level during the autumn; with the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) and Australian Guineas on the agenda for the Group 1 winner.
Chris Waller-trained Foreteller was the most consistent weight-for-age performer during 2013 and he recorded two wins at the highest level of racing; taking out the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) in the autumn and the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) during the spring.
Foreteller has not been seen at the races since he finish 17th in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 5, but has impressed Waller since returning from a short stint in the spelling paddock.
Waller also has Hawkspur in the 2014 Orr Stakes nominations and the Purrealist gelding is chasing his first win at Group 1 level since he took out the Queensland Derby (2400m) during the 2013 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
Hawkspur stamped himself as a cups contender during the spring with a most impressive win in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m), but had no luck in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup and did not stay the trip in the Melbourne Cup.
Waller has also included Sizzling in the 2014 Orr Stakes nominations, but the Snitzel entire is expected to remain in Sydney to contest the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m).
Another horse that has been included in the nominations for multiple events is Team Cummings-trained Eurozone, who has impressed connections with his trackwork since returning from the spelling paddock.
Eurozone was expected to resume in the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday, but James Cummings revealed last Friday that the son of Northern Meteor was a chance of making his debut at weight-for-age level in the Orr Stakes.
Clinton McDonald-trained Finishing Card, Australia Stakes runner-up Moment Of Change, Perth galloper Playing Gold and progressive stayer Sertorius have all been included in the 2014 Orr Stakes nominations.
The Orr Stakes is the first Group 1 event of 2013 and you can find the best odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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2014 Orr Stakes Nominations
|1||EUROZONE||Bart & James Cummings||92|
|2||FINISHING CARD||Clinton McDonald||90|
|3||FORETELLER (GB)||Chris Waller||112|
|5||MOMENT OF CHANGE||Peter G Moody||109|
|6||PLAYING GOD||Neville Parnham||102|
|8||SERTORIUS||Jamie Edwards & Bruce Elkington||105|
|9||SHAMUS AWARD||Danny O’Brien||115|
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