Adelaide-bound Black Heart Bart is set to head to Sydney first this weekend for a shot at a third Group 1 win on the trot headlining the All Aged Stakes 2017 nominations at Royal Randwick.
After The Championships came to an end last weekend, the action stays at Randwick Racecourse for two final elite level races on Saturday including the weight-for-age $600,000 Group 1 Schweppes All Aged Stakes (1400m).
The All Aged Stakes nominations attracted eighteen hopeful gallopers, with pre-field markets at Ladbrokes.com.au led by Darren Weir’s Blackfriars six-year-old Black Heart Bart.
The five-time Group 1 champion chases a maiden top level win in Sydney for the Victorian-based Weir and comes off the CF Orr – Futurity Stakes double over the 1400m at Caulfield back in February.
He has been to Randwick just once before when second to the Gai Waterhouse-trained English in last year’s All Aged Stakes, but currently pays $4.20 to go one better with success on Saturday.
Black Heart Bart is then likely to head to Adelaide to defend his title in the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville in May, the race that kicked off his Group 1 victories.
Weir plays a strong hand in this year’s All Aged Stakes with a total of five early entries including Hellbent.
Rated a $9 chance in futures All Aged Stakes betting, the four-year-old son of I Am Invincible comes off a string of excellent Melbourne runs including his second to Silent Sedition at Moonee Valley in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m).
The stallion is as yet tested over further than 1200m however, so how he handles the step-up to 1400m will be key to his chances on the weekend.
Weir’s possible runners are rounded out by the French import Articus whose sole run in Australia was a 13th to Jameka in the Caulfield Cup last spring, seven-year-old Flamberge and Voodoo Lad.
Voodoo Lad was runner-up in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington two back and is out to improve on a credible fifth behind sprint star Chautauqua in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) on April 1.
The reigning All Aged Stakes winner English is also nominated to defend her title.
The four-year-old daughter of Encosta De Lago is the $5 second elect in all-in All Aged Stakes odds to go back-to-back in the race for the first time since Rough Habit (1992-93).
English comes off a second to Chautauqua in the TJ Smith Stakes after looking the winner until the grey flash made history coming from last-to-first in one of Australian racing’s great moments.
Waterhouse has prepared a total of five All Aged Stakes winners over the years and English is her sole chance of making it six this weekend.
The other best fancied should connections accept is the Kris Lees-trained Le Romain ($6.50).
The Hard Spun four-year-old won the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) on a Heavy (10) Randwick track in early March.
His next run saw him finish second best behind the world’s best Winx in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill, before his disappointing 15th in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m).
Le Romain is a gun at Randwick with four wins and three seconds from nine starts at the track, and will relish dropping back to 1400m – a distance he has enjoyed three seconds from as many starts over to date.
Check out the full All Aged Stakes 2017 nominations below, before heading to Ladbrokes.com.au for access to the best early odds on the Sydney Group 1 races on Saturday.
2017 All Aged Stakes Nominations
Royal Randwick – 15/04/2017
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp. Rating|
|1||00352×0200||AROD (IRE)||H||6||Chris Waller||105|
|2||4x31215x0x||ARTICUS (FR)||H||5||Darren Weir||105|
|3||x12129x211||BLACK HEART BART||G||6||Darren Weir||115|
|5||13x1421x97||DIVINE PROPHET||C||3||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||104|
|6||1x5470x172||ENGLISH||M||4||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||114|
|7||7x8390190x||FAMOUS SEAMUS (NZ)||G||8||Noel Mayfield-Smith||103|
|11||134028×531||JUNGLE EDGE||G||6||Mick Bell||102|
|12||22251×1120||LE ROMAIN||G||4||Kris Lees||116|
|13||251162×156||MCCREERY (GB)||G||5||Chris Waller||106|
|14||x236710x99||REBEL DANE||H||7||Gary Portelli||109|
|15||20x5x21x10||REDKIRK WARRIOR (GB)||G||6||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||109|
|16||x13433x110||SPECTROSCOPE (USA)||H||4||John O’Shea||100|
|18||2311210×25||VOODOO LAD||G||5||Darren Weir||107|