It is shaping up as a stellar edition of the 2016 C.F. Orr Stakes to kick off Group 1 racing for the autumn at Caulfield Racecourse this Saturday with pre-field betting on the classic dominated by two gallopers.
Fifteen of the twenty-two nominations for this year’s $500,000 Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) are previous Group 1 winners including the Murray Baker-trained Turn Me Loose and the Darren Weir-trained Lucky Hussler who are battling for early favouritism at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Prepared in New Zealand, Iffraaj four-year-old Turn Me Loose was last seen capping off three Melbourne spring wins on the trot on November 7 with a narrow victory over Politeness in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m).
He has finished second from three previous first-up runs and while is yet to race at Caulfield, is being kept safe in early CF Orr Stakes odds at a current quote of $4.40.
The spring’s Melbourne Cup winning trainer Weir meanwhile has three entries led by the narrow $4.60 second elect in betting, Husson six-year-old Lucky Hussler.
Winner of the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at the track last October, Lucky Hussler has won two from four at Caulfield and comes off a first-up win at the Gold Coast in the Magic Millions Cup (1400m) from January 9.
Weir’s other possible runners are the returning four-year-old Stratum Star who failed to fire last time out on Derby Day at Flemington when 12th of 13 runners behind Gailo Chop in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) and multiple Group 1 winner Trust In A Gust.
Startum Star has a strong Randwick track record (8-3-0-2) and runs well over 1400m (7-3-1-2) and is listed as a $12 CF Orr shot to hand Weir with his first win in the showdown, while Keep The Faith stallion Trust In A Gust is at the same price to win second-up.
Occupying the third line of betting at $5.50 is the Chris Waller-trained Caulfield Guineas winner Press Statement.
The dual Group 1 winning Hinchinbrook colt however will race exclusively in Sydney this autumn starting with a Rosehill run first-up Saturday week in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) before targeting the Randwick Guineas – George Ryder Stakes double.
Also at single figures to become the autumn’s first Group 1 winner this season are Waller’s five-time Group 1 winner Boban ($7) who is another far from confirmed final acceptor and the John O’Shea-trained import Bow Creek ($8) for Godolphin.
Other chances the bookies rate highly include the Phillip Stokes-trained Hucklebuck who ran fourth on January 23 behind Holler in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley and third placegetter in the same lead-up race Rebel Dane.
The CF Orr Stakes 2016 field is due for release on Wednesday morning so stay tuned.
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