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Almanac Racing: An Orr-some Saturday

Australian racing’s headline act, Winx, will this Saturday have her first start since last year’s Cox Plate. With that spellbinding win she became the world’s highest rated turf-running racehorse and gained a status comparable to what Black Caviar enjoyed during her unprecedented streak of wins. Winx will run against some familiar rivals including Hartnell (where are all those people who believed Hartnell would win last year’s Plate?) and go around at Black Caviar odds, hopefully attracting the occasional racegoers to Randwick to admire another comfortable win.


This Friday night’s Moonee Valley meeting is actually of a worse standard than last Friday’s, when I complained about the lack of quality. It shouldn’t stop people from going, because the course is so nice to walk around during the summer evenings and the atmosphere is friendly and laid-back. The horses seem laid-back as well, but that’s because they really aren’t very good. Some value can be found with Seguna in race four and Crediton in race six, but I haven’t wasted much time looking at those fields.


That is in part due to Caulfield’s nine-race card this Saturday, which shapes up as a beauty, featuring the C.F. Orr Stakes. Every other race has quality and interest as well.


The second race is for three-year-olds over 1400 metres, the same distance as the Orr. Godolphin horse Peacock ran in the Australia Stakes a couple of weeks ago against many of the horses contesting the Orr, and was not at all disgraced. This, the Autumn Stakes, is an easier race, over a distance at which he has won two from three.


Races three and four are Blue Diamond Preludes. The third is for the fillies, where Limestone and Catchy are the two to beat. Catchy beat Limestone at the Valley in their debuts before beating some smart types by a significant margin over the same course last start. Limestone has won both its races since losing to Catchy, including a very sharp win over Black Caviar’s offspring, Oscietra. Very hard to split them, but I’m with Catchy.


The boys’ race is far less clear. Property will be one of the favourites, and has only ever been beaten to the line by Catchy. Property beat Azazel by two lengths last start, but Azazel finished off promisingly. Cao Cao is another chance, along with Sydney horses Pariah and Marsupial. Without knowing much about the Sydneysiders, I’m happy to be on Property.


The first leg of the quaddie, race six, is the group two Rubiton Stakes over 1100 metres. Chautauqua opens as favourite in a field that lacks the top notch quality against which he usually races. It likes to run a risky race, often flying from last, making its wins look incredible, but it also gives others a good chance of creating an unassailable lead. Wild Rain presents as a real threat, so much so that if Chautauqua is even slightly off his game I think Wild Rain will win.


The seventh race is the C.F. Orr, which will be a superb race, with most of the field having won at group one level. There is no point going through the credentials of every horse because the amount of success achieved by runners in this race will only distort the picture. On pure quality and record at this level, as well as over the distance, Black Heart Bart is, in my opinion, the one to beat. However, Malaguerra is without doubt one of the best going around at the moment, and if the 1400 is no problem then there’s no reason why he can’t win. Outside of those two, Divine Prophet returns off a spell after winning the Caulfield Guineas last spring, while Palentino and Turn Me Loose will be better for their runs in the Australia Stakes. Arod has form among the world’s best in the UK, but is yet to hit those heights in any of its spaced-out runs in Australia.


There’s chances everywhere you look in the Carlyon Cup. Grande Rosso and Burning Front jump off the page with recent wins. Burning Front is two wins from two starts at Caulfield and boasts an impressive form over the mile. Kiwi horse Humidor is expected to run well second-up, and Pilote D’essai is a big chance first-up.


The final race is another very competitive race where you could build a compelling case for a number of runners. Thames Court resumes after a good last preparation, which included a second to Ocean Embers over this trip first-up, despite not winning any of her four starts. Prussian Vixen should be at much shorter odds, given its recent form against Ameristralia, who will again be fancied among the first two or three picks. Silent Sedition is probably the class horse in the race, but she was beaten by Abbey Marie, who returns in this race, in the South Australian Oaks last year. I’d be very wary of money for Abbey Marie; if she continues to build upon her exceptional talent, she’ll be too good for this lot.

About Tom Riordan

Tom Riordan is in his second year of a Bachelor of Journalism at Swinburne University. He loves all sports, and plays for Brunswick Cricket Club. He supports the Western Bulldogs and can be found on weekends among half a dozen others in Q38 on the top level of the MCC.


  1. Right around the money last week Tom. Well done.
    Very excited about heading to the Heath this week, especially for the Diamond preludes and the Orr Stakes. Bookies might risk the mighty Chautauqua in the Rubiton. Also looking forward to watching the top 2 in the last, both top quality with rich campaigns ahead.

  2. Orrsome card at the Heath! And plenty of interest in Sydney as well. Pilot d’essai looks the goods fresh to me.

  3. I saw an ad that this year’s is the 50th Miracle Mile. Another excuse to show Mount Eden’s Win in 1971.

  4. Always worth revisiting Budge.
    Get a bank for tmrw with MV R3 No3 tonight.
    Doubt I’ll make it down there.

  5. Tom Riordan says

    Saturday’s Apollo Stakes meeting at Randwick has been postponed to Monday due to Sydney’s heatwave.

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