After sitting second to the Darren Weir-trained Lucky Hussler in the opening markets for the CF Orr Stakes 2016 at Caulfield Racecourse this weekend, Murray Baker’s returning star Kiwi Turn Me Loose is new favourite to win the year’s opening Group 1 race in Melbourne.
Following a tidy first-up win in the Gold Coast Magic Millions Cup (1400m) on January 9, Weir’s Husson six-year-old Lucky Hussler opened favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au to win the $500,000 Group 1 Ladbrokes C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) second-up.
A previous elite level winner at the track in last October’s Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) over the mile, Lucky Hussler topped the CF Orr Stakes odds at $4.80 and has since firmed into $4.40.
He has been overtaken however by the Baker-trained Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) winner in Melbourne during the spring, four-year-old New Zealand visitor Turn Me Loose.
The consistent Iffraaj stallion has been well-backed in from $4.80 to $4.20 despite drawing barrier 10 of 18, a barrier that last produced a CF Orr Stakes winner back in 2004 with Lonhro.
Favourites have a gun recent record in the weight-for-age Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival feature saluting for the punters for the past six straight years.
Outside the two top fancies are just two other single figure chances in CF Orr Stakes betting this season with Boban ($8.50) for Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller and Bow Creek ($11 into $9).
Classy Bernardini gelding Boban has a wide gate 13 draw to overcome, but is a five-time Group 1 winner and has won two from four at Caulfield.
His latest start at the track produced a win in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m), and he’s a gun over the distance boasting six wins and three seconds from 14 previous 1400m runs.
John O’Shea and Godolphin saddle-up import Bow Creek from a better barrier two draw, jockey Ben Melham after back-to-back wins in the race following his success aboard the Peter Moody-trained Dissident (2015) twelve months ago.
The Shamardal stallion is yet to win down under, but has been set for a big first-up run in this.
No CF Orr Stakes winner has jumped at double figures since Shinzig (25/1 in 2008), but the best fancied of those over $10 to score the upset this year are the rails-drawn Suavito ($13), Rebel Dane ($16) and Trust In A Gust ($17).
Suavito has been backed in from $15 to $13 for her first-up run, the Nigel Blackiston-trained Thorn Park mare last seen running seventh in the Group 1 Doncaster mile (1600m) nearly a year ago.
She was in flying form before that however including her Group 1 Futurity Stakes win at this track and distance last February, and if she can return to that form she can surprise at good odds as a nice first-up performer.
The mares also have a good record over their male counterparts in recent editions of the CF Orr Stakes with Black Caviar (2012), Typhoon Tracy (2010-11) and Perfect Promise (2006) all beating home the boys.
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