The 2014 Orr Stakes final field will include just eight runners after trainer Robbie Laing withdrew Polanski from the Group 1 event at Caulfield this Saturday.
Polanski was included in the nominations for both the Orr Stakes and the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield this weekend and Laing has elected to keep the Rakti colt racing against horses his own age in the Autumn Stakes.
The withdrawal of Polanski means that Shamus Award and Eurozone are the only three-year-olds left in the Orr Stakes field; with both aiming to replicate the feat of All Too Hard who won the Group 1 event as a colt last year.
Shamus Award (barrier eight) is returning to the races for the first time since he won the 2013 Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley last year and looks to be in excellent condition after winning a jump out in dominant fashion at Flemington last Friday.
The Snitzel colt was unable to break through for a win in his first nine race starts, which included placings in the Group 2 Stutt Stakes (1600m) and Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m), but broke his maiden with narrow win over Happy Trails in the Cox Plate.
Trainer Danny O’Brien is confident that Shamus Award can add additional wins to his racing resume during his autumn campaign; with the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 22 and the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 1 both on the agenda for the talented colt.
Eurozone (barrier six) will be making his debut at weight-for-age level after co-trainer James Cummings elected to include the Northern Meteor colt in the final field for the Orr Stakes rather than the Autumn Stakes.
The three-year-old started his racing career with three straight victories and performed fairly in the Group 3 The Run To The Rose (1200m) and the Group 1 Golden Rose (1500m) before returning to winning form with a narrow victory in the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m).
Chris Waller is the only trainer that will have multiple runners in the 2014 Orr Stakes field; with Group 1 winners Foreteller (barrier two) and Hawkspur (barrier one) both set to have their first race starts since finishing in the second half of the field in the 2013 Melbourne Cup.
Foreteller recorded his second Group 1 victory during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, upsetting Puissance De Lune to win the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), and was impressive when second behind glamour mare Atlantic Jewel in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) and fourth in the Cox Plate.
Hawkspur scored a dominant win second-up win in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) during his spring preparation and went into the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) as favourite following a luckless fifth in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m).
The Purrealist gelding was forced to go to the back of the field from a wide gate in the Caulfield Cup and could finish no better than seventh and his campaign fizzled out when he failed to run the trip in the Melbourne Cup.
Sertorius (barrier three) is another talented galloper that will be returning to racing after a strong spring campaign; with the progressive stayer earning a chance at Group 1 level with strong wins in the Listed Bendigo Cup (2400m) and the Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m).
Finishing Card (barrier five) will also be making his debut at Group 1 level, following his win in the Listed John Dillion Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on January 25, while Playing God (barrier four) is set to have his first race start in Melbourne since he finished sixth behind Manighar in the 2012 Australian Cup (2000m).
Rounding out the 2014 Orr Stakes final field is Peter Moody-trained Moment Of Change (barrier seven) who is chasing his first race win since he took out the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, which is run over the same track and distance in the Orr Stakes, during the 2012 Spring Racing Carnival.
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2014 C.F. Orr Stakes Final Field And Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||504×716547||PLAYING GOD||Neville Parnham||Steven Parnham||4||59kg||102|
|2||22x810240x||FORETELLER (GB)||Chris Waller||Craig Newitt||2||59kg||112|
|3||05x24432x2||MOMENT OF CHANGE||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||7||59kg||109|
|4||11x714570x||HAWKSPUR||Chris Waller||Michael Walker||1||59kg||110|
|5||x2x622121x||SERTORIUS||Jamie Edwards & Bruce Elkington||Ryan Maloney||3||59kg||105|
|6||x5020x7331||FINISHING CARD||Clinton McDonald||–||5||59kg||90|
|7||352x27231x||SHAMUS AWARD||Danny O’Brien||Craig Williams||8||55.5kg||115|
|8||111861x||EUROZONE||Bart & James Cummings||Damien Oliver||6||55.5kg||92|