C F Orr Stakes Saturday at Caulfield Ends Summer Racing Drought

As wee lads, we could never believe the amount of time between the first day of December and Boxing Day. Time stood still.

We have much the similar feeling now, but we are happy to proclaim that it is almost Group 1 Racing Day Eve. Well, it will be tomorrow.

The Group 1 C F Orr Stakes jumps at Caulfield on Saturday and inaugurates what Racing Victoria and others are calling the Festival of Racing. We reckon autumn carnival would still be okay to say, too, but Festival of Racing sounds new and improved.

The Festival of Racing runs all the way until the Mornington Cup on March 24 and supplies nine Group 1 races in Melbourne and 13 country Cups.

There was a ribbon cutting ceremony held Wednesday, presided over by some notables, including jockey Damien Oliver, who was given a lump of coal and told to sit in the corner for the Melbourne Cup in 2017 for his suspension for improper riding in the Cox Plate of 2017.

Hold on. Winx was in that race. Should Oliver not be transported to the England or Wales for not getting out of the way at Moonee Valley?

As a nabob at the launch of the Festival of Racing, Oliver’s words were carefully parsed. “I was very well rested during the spring carnival so I’m really looking forward to a good autumn,” Oliver said at the launch.
Oliver’s big opportunity, so far as riding in Melbourne is concerned, is the Group 1 Australian Guineas at Flemington (1600 m 3YO set weights) on March 3. He will ride Levendi for trainer Peter Gelagotis.

Levendi won the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes in November of 2017, although he did not place when he attempted the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas the race prior.

Trainer Darren Weir also attended the opening ceremony of the Festival of Racing and he has favourite Tosen Stardom ($4.60), Brave Smash ($7.50) and good old Black Heart Bart ($6.50).

Oliver will be along for the ride, too, on Lord Of The Sky ($41.00).

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