A star studded capacity field is set to line up in the Group 1 $500,000 Ladbrokes C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Thirteen of the eighteen final acceptors have been successful at Group 1 level, giving the first Group 1 of the calendar year the depth and quality it deserves.
2013 Caulfield Cup winner Fawkner will lead the field out, the Chris Waller trained Boban will be chasing his sixth Group 1 trophy and Victoria’s leading trainer Darren Weir will saddle up three Group 1 winners, Lucky Hussler, Trust In A Gust and Stratum Star.
Lucky Hussler has drawn midfield at barrier eight with Glen Boss in the saddle and is currently heading the market order at Ladbrokes at $4.60, only a fraction ahead of the Kiwi four year old Turn Me Loose at $4.80.
Lucky Hussler is the winner of two Group 1 races, the $400,000 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley in last year’s Autumn and the $400,000 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield during the Spring.
Weir took the six year old to Gold Coast in January and he had a good warm up for the Autumn Carnival with a solid win in the $1m Magic Millions Cup (1400m).
Cambridge trainer Murray Baker has brought Turn Me Loose back to Melbourne after the Iffraaj four year old scored a hat trick of wins during the 2015 Spring Carnival which saw him head back to New Zealand with the trophy for winning the Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington.
Top Kiwi rider Opie Bosson is back in the saddle and Turn Me Loose has drawn out a little bit at barrier ten.
Five times Group 1 winner Boban, barrier thirteen with top Hong Kong based jockey Douglas Whyte on board, is on the third line of betting at $8.50 and is having his first run back since finishing at the tail of the field when ninth to stablemate Delectation in the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 7.
But Boban has proven in the past that he can be at his top when fresh with first up wins in the 2015 Group 1 $750,000 Doomben 10000 (1350m) at Doomben and in the Group 1 $400,000 Memsie Stakes which is run over the same course and distance as the C.F. Orr Stakes.
Bow Creek is yet to win at Group 1 level but has had some friends in the early betting with the John O‘Shea trained five year old firming slightly from $11 into $10.
Ben Melham will wear the Godolphin royal blue colours and Bow Creek will jump from barrier two.
The Lloyd Williams owned Fawkner is next in the market order at $15 and is the winner of three Group 1 races, and as well as winning the 2013 $2.5m Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield, the grey also claimed the 2014 $400,000 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) also at Caulfield and the 2015 $400,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington.
Fawkner, who has also been placed six times at Group 1 level, has drawn barrier twelve with Nicholas Hall back in the saddle.
Nigel Blackiston’s mare Suavito, the winner of the 2015 Group 1 $400,000 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield, joins Fawkner at $15 and has drawn the inside gate with Luke Currie to ride.
Five horses share the next line of betting at $17, the Weir pair of Trust In A Gust and Stratum Star, Adelaide trained Hucklebuck, the consistent Rebel Dane and the Team Hawkes trained Entirely Platinum.
Weir didn’t receive any favours at the barrier drew with Stratum Star drawing fourteen while Trust In A Gust will be right beside him at fifteen.
The Phillip Stokes trained Hucklebuck got the visitors draw and will jump from the outside gate with regular rider Dom Tourneur while Rebel Dane with Blake Shinn has drawn well at four and Entirely Platinum with Dwayne Dunn will jump from the midfield barrier nine.
The remainder of the betting sees Fenway at $21, Mourinho and Messene at $26, Happy Trails and Rising Romance at $34, Awesome Rock at $81 and Red Bomber at $101.