The Ladbrokes C.F. Orr Stakes is the first Group 1 of the year in Australia and we are set for a simply outstanding contest at Caulfield on Saturday.
It is the much-maligned Kementari that has opened as a clear favourite in C.F. Orr Stakes betting, but this race is packed full of quality and he will need to be at his best to claim a second Group 1 victory.
Can Kementari finally return to winning form or will there be a Orr Stakes upset?
We have analysed the entire field and our complete 2019 C.F. Orr Stakes tips can be found below.
It was tough to know what to make of the first-up performance of Brave Smash in the Australia Stakes. He simply never got into the contest and the race was basically a barrier trial for him. We know that he is capable of winning a race of this quality on his day and you can never discount him at this level.
Redkirk Warrior will step-up to 1400 metres for the first time since he finished fifth behind Tivaci in the 2017 All Aged Stakes. His first-up run in the Australia Stakes wasn’t too bad and he gave the impression that the step-up in trip will suit. The query is that all of his highest-rating performances in Australia have been down the Flemington straight and he would need to produce close to his best to be a genuine winning chance.
Fell Swoop is the horse with the clear fitness edge in the Ladbrokes C.F. Orr Stakes. He chased home Alizee in the Christmas Classic at Randwick and he definitely wasn’r disgraced behind Whispering Brook in the Australia Stakes last start. In saying that, this is a genuine step-up in quality and he is an unproven commodity over 1400 metres.
The Ladbrokes C.F. Orr Stakes is surely d-day for Kementari. He hasn’t won a race since his outstanding victory in the Randwick Guineas last year and James Cummings has tried just about everything with him. There is a case to be made that 1400 metres is his best trip, he was only narrowly denied by Humidor in the Memsie Stakes last year, and his first-up record is decent. James McDonald should have a few options from barrier two and he has won well without winning at Caulfield before. He deserves to go into this race as favourite, but, I can’t get him as short as his current price.
Material Man should still have plenty of residual fitness following his placings in the Railway Stakes and the Kingston Town Classic and he is a horse that has run well fresh in the past. I’m not sure that he has the class to win a race of this quality over 1400 metres, but he can run a better race than his current odds suggest.
D’Argento is the value runner in Ladbrokes C.F. Orr Stakes. He is another horse that has gone a while without winning, but he is well and truly over the odds at $10. The Rosehill Guineas winner didn’t win a race during the Spring, but he didn’t produce a poor effort either. He finished third behind Winx first-up in the Winx Stakes, a race in which he beat home Kementari, and he was only narrowly denied another Group 1 win in the Epsom Handicap. Barrier one probably isn’t ideal and he will need some luck in running, but if he gets it he is a genuine winning chance.
Land Of Plenty
Land Of Plenty is one of a number of horses in this race that will make their debuts for new trainers after previously being prepared by Darren Weir. He went to another level during the Spring when he won the Toorak Handicap in dominant fashion and he looks like a horse that is ready to make the leap to weight-for-age level. I have the feeling that he may need another run before he is at his peak and there is the unknown of moving to a new stable, but he is definitely a leading contender.
Best Of Days
Best Of Days will return to the races for the first time since he won the Cantala Stakes at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day. He has been a consistent performer since he arrived in Australia and he deserved to win that Group 1, but he did so with little weight on his back. This is his first proper attempt at weight-for-age level and he would need to improve to be a genuine winning chance.
Moss ’N’ Dale
Moss ’N’ Dale has been very well-placed by Team Gelagotis and he has put together an excellent record. There is no doubt that he is at his best on rain-affected going and he would need the track to be a bog to be any chance in this contest.
So Si Bon
So Is Bon was finally able to end his lengthy losing streak in the Lord Stakes at Caulfield and he is a very fit horse. This does look beyond him.
Manuel went to another level during the Spring, highlighted by a win in the Kilmore Cup, but he was a touch outclassed in the Australia Stakes. He will appreciate the step-up in trip, but that does look his level.
Mask Of Time
This is the toughest assignment that Mask Of Time has faced since he arrived in Australia and he has never really shown anything to suggest that he is capable of winning at this level. He is one of the outsiders of this field for a reason.
Holbien failed to beat a single runner home in his last start in the John Dillon Stakes. It is impossible to bet him in this contest off that effort.
Fifty Stars has been sent to Lindsay Park after starting his career with Darren Weir. You can’t knock his record, he has recorded six wins from nine race starts, and his win in the Sandown Stakes was excellent. He does look like he will get a long way back in the early stages of this contest and I’m not convinced that he is up to this level at this stage of his career.
Shillelagh beat the mares to win the Empire Rose Stakes at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day and she wasn’t disgraced when she took on the boys in the Mackinnon Stakes. There is no doubt that she is an underrated galloper, I have been guilty of this myself, and she does run well fresh. She isn’t the first chance at her current price of $15.
Whispering Brook is back with Simon Miller after a very successful stint with Darren Weir. She has recorded three wins from as many starts this campaign and she proved too strong for her rivals with a very professional performance in the Australia Stakes. The big query is the step-up to 1400 metres. She has only won one of her race starts over this distance and that was in the Western Australian Sires Produce Stakes as a two-year-old. You can’t discount her because she is in outstanding form and has a fitness edge, but $6.50 does seem around the right odds.