Proving a weight-for-age star over the 1800m with a runaway Underwood Stakes 2016 win at Caulfield Racecourse on the weekend has set up a scintillating showdown next start for Black Heart Bart with Australia’s best racehorse Winx.
Darren Weir’s former Perth-trained Blackfriars six-year-old posted his third elite level win since joining the stable with a too-good effort in the $500,000 Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m).
It adds to the gelding’s Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) success in Adelaide during the autumn and his first-up Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) success at Caulfield in late August.
Black Heart Bart was beaten a length by stablemate Palentino last time out at Flemington in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), but more than atoned a fortnight later in the Underwood Stakes results.
It was the horse’s first win over further than 1420m, but Weir was never worried about Black Heart Bart seeing out the distance.
“I never had any doubt about the 1800 metres,” Weir said post-win, celebrating his first Underwood Stakes success.
In a gun ride from jockey Brad Rawiller, who enjoyed second Underwood Stakes win after his previous victory aboard Weekend Hussler (2008), the hoop had Black Heart Bart switched off nicely off the pace set by frontrunner The Cleaner.
The Cleaner from out wide worked his way across to lead by a big margin over the rest of the field, while Rawiller slotted Black Heart Bart just off the front of the pack.
Jacquinot Bay was up in second from stablemate He Or She for Lindsay Park in the first half of the race, Black Heart Bart just off them while Kris Lees’ returning mare Lucia Valentina tracked midfield first-up.
At the 800m Black Heart Bart was third on the outside of He Or She, Rawiller still riding the horse quietly right up until the turn.
Once on the straight Rawiller was poised perfectly to come with the late run, the well-backed favourite Black Heart Bart ($2.25) racing to the lead with 200m to go before charging home for a 2.5 length victory over Makybe Diva Stakes third placegetter He Or She ($12).
Finishing off the Underwood Stakes trifecta in a brave third was Lucia Valentina ($5.50), the only mare in the race making Tristarc (1985) still the last female Underwood Stakes winner.
“He had a good run,” Rawiller said of Black Heart Bart.
“He’s a smart horse. A top horse.”
Black Heart Bart was the first successful Underwood Stakes favourite to salute for the punters since So You Think (2010) and the first six-year-old to win since Perlin (2005).
He will now return to the track on October 8 for a showdown with Chris Waller’s glamour mare Winx in the $600,000 Group 1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes (2000m).
“It was good to see him run through the line like that today,” Weir said.
“He was strong through the line and he’ll head to the Caulfield Stakes now and we’ll see what happens after that.”
Weir is hoping his horse stacks up against the seven-time Group 1 winning five-year-old Winx who chases her 12th straight win in the Caulfield Stakes.
“He ran away from them late but the competition is only going to get stronger as he heads towards the Cox Plate, so he needs to be running like he did today to stack up,” he said.
“He’s come on well and that’ll tighten him up again.”
If he handles himself well in that class over the 2000m then he will take on Winx again as she defends her title in the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley Racecourse on October 22.
“Absolutely,” Weir said, confirming the 2016 Cox Plate path for Black Heart Bart.
Check out the updated Cox Plate 2016 odds on Black Heart Bart available online now at Ladbrokes.com.au!
2016 Underwood Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Caulfield Race 8 – 24/09/2016
|1||2||BLACK HEART BART||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||–||6||59kg||$2.20F|
|2||7||HE OR SHE||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Craig Williams||2.5L||1||59kg||$12|
|3||11||LUCIA VALENTINA (NZ)||Kris Lees||Damien Oliver||2.6L||5||57kg||$5.50|
|4||5||JACQUINOT BAY||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Damian Lane||2.8L||3||59kg||$41|
|5||6||AWESOME ROCK||Leon & Troy Corstens||Stephen Baster||3.55L||2||59kg||$6.50|
|6||4||THE CLEANER||Peter Gelagotis||Steven Arnold||3.85L||10||59kg||$21|
|7||10||HOWARD BE THY NAME||Darren Weir||Mark Zahra||5.85L||4||58kg||$71|
|8||8||TARZINO (NZ)||Mick Price||Craig Newitt||7.35L||9||58kg||$12|
|9||1||PRINCE OF PENZANCE (NZ)||Darren Weir||John Allen||8.1L||7||59kg||$31|
|10||9||TAVAGO (NZ)||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Nicholas Hall||18.1L||8||58kg||$19|
|–||3||OUR IVANHOWE (GER)||Lee & Anthony Freedman||Kerrin McEvoy||–||0||–||–|