Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
A brave first-up third in the P.B. Lawrence Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday has the Darren Weir-trained Black Heart Bart on track for a title defence in the Memsie Stakes 2017 this spring despite previous concerns the horse had pulled up lame.
The evergreen seven-year-old son of Blackfriars jumped second favourite in betting on the Group 2 $200,000 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) and eventually crossed just over three lengths third behind the now James Cummings-trained winner Hartnell.
Weir and connections confirmed the galloper had recovered from the weekend’s run in good order despite having undergone a vet check after pulling up slightly lame post-race.
“I did see that [the note of lameness] on the stewards’ report, but when the boys got home they had a look at home and trotted him up and he seemed fine,” Weir told Racing Victoria.
“Going forward, I think everything is good with him.
“I was happy enough with his run and he’ll improve quite a bit from the run.”
It was the first start from five-time Group 1 champion Black Heart Bart since his fifth to Clearly Innocent in the wet at Eagle Farm on May 27 in Brisbane’s Group 1 Kingsford Smith Cup (1300m).
A winner of 16 of his 42 career starts to date for an impressive $3.46 million in prize money, the former WA sprint star heads towards another start at Caulfield Racecourse on September 2 in the Group 1 $1 million Memsie Stakes (1400m).
Black Heart Bart won the season’s opening Group 1 race last spring first-up and this year chases back-to-back Memsie Stakes victories for the first time since the mighty mare Sunline (2000-2001).
Pre-nomination Memsie Stakes odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au have Black Heart Bart installed as the $5.50 favourite.
Weir however warns punters the horse may be hitting peak third-up, not second-up in the Memsie Stakes field.
“He may need another one [start] to be at his top,” the record-breaking Victorian trainer said.
“He’s a horse that improves a lot between his first-up run and his second-up run but maybe this time it might be third-up before we get him rock hard fit and spot on.”
Black Heart Bart is followed closely in the futures Memsie Stakes betting markets by the Kris Lees-trained triple Group 1 champ Le Romain ($6) and Tony McEvoy’s Australian Guineas winner Hey Doc ($6.50).
Le Romain kicked off his preparation on August 5 at Randwick finishing second to Invincible Gem in the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m).
Four-year-old Hey Doc was also impressive first-up earlier this month, improving on a Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) sixth from May to win Flemington’s Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) down the famous straight.
The 2017 Memsie Stakes nominations are open until midday on August 28, making now the time to get behind your earlier Group 1 racing selections at all-in pricing through Ladbrokes.com.au.
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