It is shaping up as a star-studded edition of the Autumn Stakes 2016 in Melbourne this weekend with Australian Guineas-bound Mahuta and returning Victoria Derby winner Tarzino leading the field for the CF Orr Stakes Day event.
Set to run as Caulfield Race 6 at 4:00pm (AEDT), this season’s $200,000 Group 2 Hyland Race Colours Autumn Stakes (1400m) has attracted a dozen three-year-olds.
Jumping from barrier one with Brad Rawiller in the saddle and shooting for his sixth consecutive win is the Darren Weir-trained Flying Spur colt Mahuta.
The in-form galloper won the Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m) to round out his spring prep last season before returning at the Gold Coast on January 9 with a first-up win in the Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (1400m).
He has had just one Caulfield run to date for a black-type win on Caulfield Cup Day back in October and is current second favourite behind Palentino to win Flemington’s $750,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) next month.
The most likely to put a hiccup in the smooth run of Mahuta in the Autumn Stakes on Saturday is the Mick Price-trained Tarzino in gate eight with Craig Newitt aboard.
A talented son of Tavistock, Tarzino was last seen winning the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Originally the colt, whose major autumn aim is the Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m) in Sydney during The Championships, was set to resume in Saturday’s Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m).
The imposing field of Group 1 winners collected for the season’s opening Group 1 however convinced Price to give Tarzino an easier first-up run against a field of fellow three-year-olds in the Autumn Stakes.
Also first-up having won in elite level company last start is the Chris Waller-trained Encosta De Lago colt Vanbrugh.
A winner of four of his nine starts to date he won three on the trot in Sydney last season including the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick.
He is looking to pick up where he left off and bring that winning form to Melbourne this season starting in the Autumn Stakes, which is the up-and-comer’s first run outside of New South Wales.
Vanbrugh is drawn nicely in barrier four with Blake Shinn riding and is joined in the field by stablemate Devil Hawk (barrier five) who ran seventh in the Spring Champion.
One of the three-year-olds with the fitness edge on the weekend is the John O’Shea-trained Commands colt Holler for the Godolphin stable.
Holler finished last campaign with a Moonee Valley win on Cox Plate Day in the Group 3 Red Anchor Stakes (1200m) before winning first-up at the same track in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m).
Craig Williams is replaced aboard the Australia Stakes winner this weekend by Damien Oliver, Holler to jump from gate nine.
Also coming off a win are David Brideoake’s Hard Spun gelding Hardern who saluted over the Caulfield mile on January 26 and the Team Hawkes-trained Snoopy who won first-up at Moonee Valley last month.
Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes also saddle-up Rageese from barrier 11 in Saturday’s clash, the Street Cry colt fourth in last year’s Golden Rose Stakes and fifth in the Caulfield Guineas.
The only filly in the mix meanwhile is the Price-trained Sailing By, a stablemate of Tarzino, the daughter of Fastnet Rock last seen crossing fourth to Badawiya in the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m) at Flemington in early October.
She blitzed a trial on the Synthetic Geelong track by three lengths over 1200m on February 1 and is nominated for all of the upcoming autumn majors including the Australian Derby and Australian Oaks in April at Randwick.
Check out the complete Autumn Stakes 2016 field, jockeys and barriers below then head to our preferred sportsbook Ladbrokes.com.au who will match your first deposit dollar for dollar up to $500 when you first sign-up and quote the code BETBONUS!
2016 Autumn Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Caulfield Race 6 (4:00pm) – 13/02/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||2411111||MAHUTA||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||1||59kg||97|
|2||5x2462111x||VANBRUGH||Chris Waller||Blake Shinn||4||59kg||105|
|3||311731x||TARZINO (NZ)||Mick Price||Craig Newitt||8||58kg||107|
|4||x3x38221x1||HOLLER||John O’Shea||Damien Oliver||9||58kg||106|
|5||783x15167x||DEVIL HAWK||Chris Waller||Douglas Whyte||5||57kg||76|
|6||05x110010x||EXTRA CHOICE (NZ)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Ben Melham||6||57kg||73|
|7||2x510x||CELTIC TIGER (NZ)||Mick Price||Glen Boss||10||57kg||73|
|8||22x41435x0||RAGEESE||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||James Winks||11||56kg||80|
|9||1x11940x1||SNOOPY||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||12||56kg||78|
|10||5×2125431||HARDERN||David Brideoake||Luke Currie||3||56kg||68|
|11||312||SOLAR IMPULSE e||Patrick Payne||TBA||7||56kg||64|
|12||3x31324x||SAILING BY||Mick Price||Nicholas Hall||2||54kg||68|