Four-year-old mare Real Love will face the toughest race of her career today (Saturday) as she lines up against some of the best sprint-mile runners in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
Real Love proved a dominant force during the Perth Summer Racing Carnival, winning 11 of her total 13 starts, however it has yet to be seen if she can remain strong on her first trip to Melbourne.
“This is her biggest test to date against the likes of Happy Trails and Dissident,” trainer Adam Durrant told Racing Victoria.
“Mourinho has been a surprise packet with his win over 1200m at Moonee Valley the other day, and that is the Dissident form.
“Those horses are all in good nick, add to that some handy looking three year olds, and we are hopeful of going a couple better than two years ago when we were over with Mr Moet.”
With such a talented field, Real Love has gotten lost in the betting. The mare opened as a $12 hopeful at Ladbrokes.com.au but her price has since drifted out to $18.
Durrant took over the training of Real Love from Grant Williams just prior to the spring. She showed promise as a three-year-old, finishing runner-up in the Group 3 WA Oaks (2400m) last March, but really came into her own this season under the care of Durrant, winning four of her six starts and running second in the other two.
Real Love just missed out on a Benchmark 72 over 1400 metres first-up on October 18 before winning over 1500 metres three weeks later. She then dropped back to 1400 metres for the Listed Carbine Club of WA Stakes, in which she was a mile off the leaders at 600 metres, displaying a really hot speed to hit the line strongly and miss out on victory by just a head.
The mare has been unbeaten since then, winning the Group 3 Queen’s Cup (2200m), Listed WA St Leger (2100m), and Group 2 Perth Cup (2400m) where she showed she can lead and win as well as sitting back.
She will take a big step back in distance for the 2015 CF Orr Stakes but Durrant already knows the mare is competent over 1400 metres.
Craig Williams will partner Real Love for the first time as the pair jump from barrier 11.
“I will leave it up to Craig, obviously she can go back or forward,” said Durrant.
“This is not her grand final, we are looking forward with her over longer but she does have a very good record over 1400m.
“She probably should be unbeaten over the distance for me.
“I think she will try for a mid-field spot depending upon the pattern of the day, but I want to see her attacking the line.
“I am confident that she will finish in the first three, provided she brings her work and her previous form to Melbourne with her.”
Durrant is keen to run Real Love in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) on February 28 following the 2015 CF Orr Stakes with the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 14 his ultimate goal.
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