Darren Weir’s new-season four-year-old Mahuta is the early favourite to return to winning form in Saturday’s PB Lawrence Stakes 2016 at Caulfield Racecourse.
The feature race on the Melbourne card this weekend, the $200,000 Group 2 Back To Caulfield P.B. Lawrence Stakes Western Front Commemoration (1400m) field features 15 weight-for-age hopefuls.
Drawn well in barrier five with regular rider Brad Rawiller continuing his association is Flying Sur stallion Mahuta who sits top of the latest PB Lawrence Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
A winner of six of his 10 career starts, Mahuta pays $4.20 to post his first victory since the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) at the same track and distance as the PB Lawrence from mid-February.
Before that he won first-up at the Gold Coast in the lucrative $2 million Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (1400m), but he couldn’t keep the winning streak going when on March 5 at Flemington he ran second last (14th) in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m).
Mahuta returned on July 30 back at Caulfield and finished a first-up third in the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m), form he is tipped to improve on when he gets out over his pet distance in the Lawrence Stakes.
The horse has won all four of his previous 1400m runs, including two-from-two at Caulfield, and is every chance of adding to that undefeated record this weekend.
Weir also kicks off a possible Spring Cups’ bid in the PB Lawrence Stakes with his imported stayer Tall Ship, runner-up to Who Shot Thebarman in the Group 2 Sandown Classic (2400m) last November.
The Sea The Stars gelding won December’s Listed Werribee Cup (2635m) carrying 60kg to victory as the odds-on favourite and was last seen crossing seventh to Tonopah in Adelaide’s Group 3 RA Lee Stakes (1600m) in May.
He is only rated a 41/1 outsider in PB Lawrence Stakes betting for this weekend as he hasn’t won over less than 1700m, the dour stayer to improve on whatever he does in the Group 2 the further out in distance he gets.
Following Mahuta in the markets meanwhile are Nigel Blackiston’s Group 1 winning mare Suavito ($5) and the Bletchingly Stakes winner Lord Of The Sky ($5.50) in barriers seven and 11 respectively.
Michael Walker rides Thorn Park six-year-old Suavito who chases her first win since her Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) success at Caulfield in mid-February after nearly a year off the scene.
She is out to atone however for a last start 11th in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at Randwick from early April, but flies fresh (5-3-1-1) and loves Caulfield (8-4-1-3).
Lord Of The Sky put the writing on the wall late last month with the strong Bletchingly Stakes win, but faces a tough test seeking his first win over further than that in the PB Lawrence Stakes this weekend.
The other single-figure chances in the latest markets are the rails-drawn Miss Rose De Lago ($7.50) and The Cleaner ($9) who debuts for his new trainer Peter Gelagotis.
Damien Oliver is booked to ride the Danny O’Brien-trained Encosta De Lago mare Miss Rose De Lago on the weekend, his first time aboard her since a fourth in the Group 3 Matron Stakes (1600m) at Flemington in March.
The now six-year-old mare went on to win the Group 2 Sunline Stakes (1600m) with James McDonald aboard, McDonald also in the saddle for her last start ninth in the Queen Of The Turf at Randwick.
Miss Rose De Lago is sure to appreciate the return to Caulfield however where from four previous starts she boats three wins and a third.
As for The Cleaner, the veteran nine-year-old was runner-up to Mourinho in last year’s PB Lawrence Stakes quinella before his second win in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley.
Group 1 placed in the Underwood Stakes later in the spring, the son of Savoire Vivre is again a livewire place chance this weekend drawn in barrier two with Steven Arnold riding.
See below for the full PB Lawrence Stakes 2016 field, barriers and jockeys as well as Fixed Win odds provided by Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the $500 first time depositor’s bonus with use of the code BETBONUS!