Group One racing returns to Melbourne on Saturday with the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) running at Caulfield, with a classy field of 15 sprinters, gallopers, and middle distance runners all set to tackle the race.
Half of the field are resuming in the CF Orr Stakes, including the likes of Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) winner Happy Trails, while the rest of the runners have fitness on their side thanks to summer campaigns.
The Cinderella of the 2015 CF Orr Stakes field would undeniably be three-year-old gelding Java, who just two months ago was searching for his maiden win in a $15,000 race at Kilmore.
Following a highly successful summer run, the Lee & Anthony Freedman-trained gelding will get his first test at Group One racing in the $400,000 CF Orr Stakes.
Java is the $8 third favourite in the CF Orr Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au, behind just Dissident ($3.20) and Petrology ($6.50).
Chad Schofield will ride the gelding for the first time on Saturday but has been closely following his preparation these past few months.
“I thought his win was good. He was slow away and he worked to get up on speed,” Schofield told TVN.
“He showed a good kick and he was strong to the line.”
After winning his maiden on December 2, Java brought home two further wins in Benchmark 64 races. The gelding stepped up to black-type racing for the first time on January 26 in the Group 3 Manfred Stakes (1300m), winning one and a quarter lengths clear of Petrology.
Java worked over from gate seven to get outside the leader before ranging up on him in the straight. He hit the front at 200 metres and toughed it out to hold off his rivals and win well.
The gelding will have to overcome a wide start from barrier 13 (of 15) in Saturday’s race but Schofield believes he’s in with a chance at winning the CF Orr Stakes if he can lead or race on tempo.
“The one thing about him is that he’s a winner, he’s got a good record and he tries his guts out,” Schofield said.
“Obviously the race is full of Group horses who are first up and many of whom are looking for more ground.
“We are rock hard fit and we’ll be on the speed – that’s our advantage and that’s what we will be making the most of.”
If you think Java has what it takes to beat home his classier rivals and win the 2015 CF Orr Stakes, back him at Ladbrokes.com.au today. New customers will receive a $250 bonus match on their first bets when they quote code: BETBONUS.