Next month’s 2016 CF Orr Stakes is the firming first-up choice for Nigel Blackiston’s Group 1 winning mare Suavito after an impressive Flemington jump-out on Friday morning.
The five-year-old daughter of Thorn Park impressed her trainer with a solid piece of work ahead of her resuming run this Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival.
Blackiston has confirmed plans to target the $500,000 Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield Racecourse on Blue Diamond Stakes Day, February 27, and is also considering an earlier elite level run at the same track and distance.
Last season Suavito won the Futurity Stakes during a purple patch of form in Melbourne that also included a Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) win over the Flemington mile in mid-March.
She hasn’t raced since a seventh when beaten nearly five lengths by the Chris Waller-trained dual champion Kermadec in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick in Sydney last April.
Having come through her extended spell in good order, the mare took to her home track this morning and put in an effort that suggested to Blackiston she was ready for the $500,000 Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 13.
“She was in the first heat of the day so she got the best part of the track and she ran a solid second behind He Or She and I’m very pleased with her,” Blackiston told Racing Victoria.
“She doesn’t usually trial that well in her second trial but she was very bright and fresh this morning and had a lovely hit-out.
“I’ll just see how she comes through it in the next couple of days and then have a chat with the owners but at the moment I’m leaning towards starting her off in the Orr.”
An earlier return in the Orr could then lead to Suavito heading to Flemington on March 12 for a shot at the $1.5 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) or alternatively defend her Blamey Stakes title at the track on the same day.
“We might go from the Orr Stakes into the Futurity Stakes with her and then make a call on the Australian Cup or whether we stay at 1600m and run her in the Blamey Stakes like last year,” Blackiston said.
The last mare to win the weight-for-age Australian Cup was the Lee Freedman-trained champion Makybe Diva (2005) and before her fellow turf great Dane Ripper (1998).
Early all-in Australian Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au have Suavito at a quote of $11 to break the mares’ hoodoo in the classic, markets led by reigning Queen Elizabeth Stakes champion Criterion ($7) and Waller’s four-year-old Zabeel stallion Preferment ($7).
Blackiston also hasn’t ruled out a trip to Sydney later in the season to give Suavito a chance to atone in the Doncaster Mile during The Championships.
“She’ll be nominated for all of those types of races but it will just depend on Sydney’s weather,” he said, referring also to the Coolmore Classic and Queen Of The Turf Stakes.
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