Group 1 Racing Returns for 2017 with Saturday’s C.F. Orr

With most of the attention directed toward Royal Randwick for the Saturday meeting that will feature Australian heroine thoroughbred Winx in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes, it is only fair to mention that Caulfield racecourse will be holding the Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes on the same day, marking the first Group 1 race of 2017.

The 1400-metre race currently has a field of 12, with 25 percent (3) of those coming from the stables of Darren Weir.

Weir will field proven performers Black Heart Bart, Palentino and Lucky Hussler. Proven, that is, in the sense that they have won by scrupulously avoiding races with Winx in them, but also on their merits as racers.

Those three horses will be up against formidable competition in the form of Malaguerra, whose winged hooves left Black Heart Bart two lengths back when the two met in the Australian Stakes at Moonee Valley, whilst Palentino was further back in fourth position.

Bart would seem to be Weir’s best hope, but Bart and jockey Brad Rawiller will have to run a perfect race in order to compensate for jumping from the 11th barrier.

Then again, the favourite, Malaguerra, will be jumping from 12, so there is some justice in the universe.

2016 Caulfield Cup winner Jameka is in the field, starting alongside Bart and Malaguerra, but she has drawn little backing and is currently priced on Sportsbet at $15.00.

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