Victorian horseman David Hayes who now trains in partnership with his nephew Tom Dabernig shoots for a fourth CF Orr Stakes trophy when he saddles-up two horses in the 2015 edition of the Caulfield classic this weekend.
A quality field of 15 hopefuls faces off in the opening Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival elite level on Saturday including two for Hayes & Dabernig in the $400,000 Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m).
The team is represented in the weight-for-age showdown by Spillway on the rails with barrier one and Petrology who has a double digit barrier 10 draw to overcome, their co-trainer Hayes already a triple CF Orr Stakes winner.
His first was with Planet Ruler in 1991 during his first season of training when the CF Orr Stakes only held Group 2 status.
Since then he also won the race twice since its upgrade to a Group 1 with Primacy (1994) and the famous Jeune (1995), all three of the victories being during the race’s time at Sandown Racecourse from 1966-96.
Current CF Orr Stakes betting markets for this year at Ladbrokes.com.au are led by Peter Moody’s Sebring stallion Dissident, the multiple Group 1 champion at a firming $3.20 to win after resuming with a third to Mourinho in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at the end of last month.
Occupying the second line of the CF Orr Stakes odds at $6.50 is then Petrology while stablemate Spillway is listed at a more generous $12.
Nicholas Hall rides Fastnet Rock colt Petrology, the promising three-year-old having won back-to-back races last season to see out his spring including the Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m) where Hall had the ride.
The up-and-coming youngster then returned to racing on January 26 back at Sandown and ran a solid second when one and a quarter lengths off Java in the Group 3 Manfred Stakes (1300m).
Flying Medaglia D’Oro gelding Java is an $8 chance in the CF Orr Stakes to win his fifth straight race, the bookies keener on Petrology to turn the tables on his last start conqueror.
If successful, Petrology will become just the second three-year-old CF Orr Stakes winner along with All Too Hard (2013) since that age group won every edition of the race from 1998-2003.
Hayes has always had the CF Orr Stakes in mind for Petrology and is keen to see how he handles the step up to Group 1 company.
“It was always in the back of my mind,” he told Racing Victoria.
“He hasn’t had a try at Group 1 level yet, but every time I’ve stepped him up he’s been very good.
“Three-year-olds have got a good record in the race and I want to have two cracks at Group 1s in Melbourne before I got to Sydney.”
Hayes has an open mind of where Petrology will end up this season, his run in the CF Orr Stakes to be used as a guide to help narrow down his autumn targets.
At the moment he is nominated for everything from the $500,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) and $1 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington in March, to the $2 million Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) and even the $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) both held at Randwick on April 4 during The Championships.
He pays $10 through Ladbrokes.com.au to win the Australian Guineas and $15 to take out the Australian Cup at this stage in the early markets.
Spillway meanwhile has Michael Walker riding on the weekend, the Rail Link stallion first-up having run fourth to Au Revoir last time out in the Group 2 Sandown Classic (2400m).
He also ran fourth in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) and the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) both at Flemington as part of his spring, the 2015 Australian Cup also on his radar.
Hayes however was convinced last preparation the horse was not a stayer, Spillway’s ability to sprint surprising his trainer who tips him a good Each Way chance at good odds in the CF Orr.
“If you asked me at the start of spring, I would have said I thought he was a mile-and-a-half horse but I do think he’s a middle-distance horse, so I reckon he’ll continue to surprise how well he sprints,” Hayes said.
“He’ll just need a bit of luck from the 600 to the 300 (on Saturday), but Michael is good at getting runs.
“His trials have been very good, his trackwork’s probably better than it was last year, so he’ll be the one at the big odds that will run well.”
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