The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Mick Price & Michael Kent Jnr’s Cox Plate runner-up I’m Thunderstruck returns to racing as one of the top fancies in Saturday’s 2023 Ladbrokes C.F. Orr Stakes.
Group 1 racing for the calendar year gets underway in Melbourne this weekend with the $750,000 Ladbrokes C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) taking place at Sandown Hillside.
It shapes up as one of the more open editions of the weight-for-age autumn lead-up in recent history with a host of single-figure fancies in CF Orr Stakes betting at race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au.
One of the early favourites at a current quote of $4.80 is the resuming I’m Thunderstruck in gate nine with Ms Jamie Kah aboard for the ride first-up.
It has been a while between drinks for the talented Shocking five-year-old who chases his first win since the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) in September last year.
There he beat home subsequent Champions Mile hero Alligator Bood narrowly before a string of subsequent Group 1 placings in Melbourne over the spring.
He was a dual runner-up behind Godolphin star Anamoe in the Caulfield Stakes and Ladbrokes Cox Plate before his fifth to Zaaki in the Champions Stakes.
Fresh I’m Thunderstruck has a strong record (4:2-1-0), the 1400m looks ideal first-up and this $8 million earner has the class to run over the top of them here.
The danger sitting top of the CF Orr Stakes odds at $3.30 and firming is the well-backed three-year-old Golden Rose hero Jacquinot from the same stable.
Damian Lane partner’s the classy young Rubick colt from a favourable gate four drawn second-up continuing associations following a narrow win fresh here on Australia Day.
Jacquinot was good posting a brave win to kick off his campaign in the Group 3 Manfred Stakes (1300m) with 59.5kg and returns to Group 1 racing here with less weight (55.5kg).
He is against the older horses for the first time since his eye-catching $15 million The Everest fifth when only 1.5 lengths off Giga Kick in Sydney last October and looks a winning hope for the punters here.
In a wide-open market a further four autumn hopefuls are under $10 for the win including the rails-drawn Tuvalu ($6.50) and the Ben & JD Hayes-trained Gentleman Roy ($6.50) in gate three.
Lindsey Smith’s ultra-consistent Kermadec five-year-old Tuvalu has run top three in all 14 of his starts to date and is two-from-two at the track ahead of the Orr.
The galloper is also a gun at the 1400m distance (5:3-1-1) and chases his first win since the Toorak Handicap over the Caulfield mile last October.
His last start was a half-length second to Alligator Blood at HQ in the Champions Mile, and he has been brought-on fitness wise with a winning Geelong trial on January 31 ahead off his first-up run with the blinkers on here.
Gentleman Roy meanwhile has the benefit fitness-wise of a first-up win in the Listed Barton Stakes at this track and distance on January 26.
The So You Think six-year-old was brave carrying 59.5kg to a three-quarter length win there, has great second-up form (3:2-0-0), loves the Sandown track and looks well placed by the stable.
The other key chances to get 2023 underway with an elite level win include resuming Champions Mile third place-getter Mr Brightside ($9.50) also representing the Hayes’ stable and the flying Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained Nugget ($8.50) looking to extend his winning streak to four on the trot.
2023 CF Orr Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||26x214225x||I’M THUNDERSTRUCK (NZ)||Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)||Ms Jamie Kah||9||59kg||116|
|2||41x115473x||MR BRIGHTSIDE (NZ)||Ben & JD Hayes||Craig Williams||10||59kg||112|
|3||x1211x312x||TUVALU||Lindsey Smith||Jarrod Fry||1||59kg||111|
|4||280x61052x||CALLSIGN MAV (NZ)||Danny O’Brien||Jamie Mott||8||59kg||109|
|5||x112x55x75||WESTERN EMPIRE (NZ)||John Leek (Jnr)||Arron Lynch||5||59kg||108|
|6||0000x6142x||AEGON (NZ)||Andrew Forsman||Michael Dee||7||59kg||106|
|7||121x2146x1||GENTLEMAN ROY||Ben & JD Hayes||Mark Zahra||3||59kg||104|
|8||12x14x2111||NUGGET (GB)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||John Allen||6||59kg||104|
|9||5346x510x2||TURAATH (GB)||Maddie Raymond||Damien Oliver||2||57kg||102|
|10||536x1159x1||JACQUINOT||Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)||Damian Lane||4||55.5kg||111|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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