Top Victorian trainer Darren Weir is confident Black Heart Bart won’t have an issue getting around the tight Moonee Valley circuit when the Cox Plate hope takes on Winx next start in the Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes 2016.
Saturday week sees a superstar showdown between Chris Waller’s champion mare Winx, shooting for 12th win on the trot in the $600,000 Group 1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes (2000m), and Black Heart Bart.
Weir’s three-time Group 1 winning son of Blackfriars is considered the big danger at stopping the winning streak of Street Cry five-year-old Winx who is tracking perfectly towards a title defence in the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) on October 22.
Australasia’s weight-for-age championship is also on the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival radar for Black Heart Bart who was put through his paces at the Valley on Thursday morning by hoop John Allen.
The Perth expat has won 14 of his 34 career runs to date including the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) – Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) double at Caulfield this campaign.
Sandwiched between was a close second as the beaten favourite to stablemate Palentino in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington.
Despite this killer recent form in Melbourne, Moonee Valley is a track Black Heart Bart is yet to face under race conditions.
Known for its notoriously tight turns, the Valley becomes either the stomping ground or graveyard for gallopers depending on how they take to the track.
Weir doesn’t believe the course is an issue for his in-form $2.67 million earner however, giving him a positive post-workout review to Racing Victoria on Thursday, but remains wary of Winx.
“The track won’t be his problem after today but someone else might be,” Weir said.
“He looked to get around the track really well, he just went out and did a bit of evens and strode home an easy half mile, just to have a look around,” Weir said.
“Johnny rode him and said he felt good, he swapped and changed legs when he needed to.
“I don’t think the Valley will be a problem.”
Winx is already odds-on in pre-field Cox Plate betting at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $1.90 to go back-to-back in the classic.
Black Heart Bart is at $15 following also Hartnell ($8) and Lucia Valentina ($13).
The John O’Shea-trained Hartnell races this Sunday at Flemington in the $500,000 Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m), while the Kris Lees-trained Lucia Valentina was last seen running third first-up in the Underwood Stakes.
Black Heart Bart will go into the Caulfield Stakes in peak fitness with Weir planning a final gallop at Warrnambool next Tuesday or Wednesday.
“Looking at him walking around before he galloped this morning he still looked big and full in condition and he only ran four or five days ago,” Weir explained.
“He is in great shape and he will have a good piece of work on Wednesday between races at Warrnambool, or Tuesday if we can get on the course proper.
“That will have him right up to the mark, he will be in terrific shape, whether he is good enough I’m not sure but he will certainly run well.”
To back Black Heart Bart for an upset over Winx next start and to access the best Cox Plate 2016 futures markets before third acceptances close on Tuesday, October 4, head to Ladbrokes.com.au now.