Group 1 racing returns to Caulfield on Saturday when a high-quality field contests the 2024 C.F. Orr Stakes.

Won by many champions of the Australasian turf throughout its storied history, the C.F. Orr Stakes is often used as a springboard into some of the Autumn Carnival’s biggest races, and the likes of Mr Brightside, Veight and Pride Of Jenni will step out at The Heath on Saturday.

Will Mr Brightside continue his dominance over the route and claim yet another win at the highest level, or will we witness the first big upset of the 2024 Autumn Racing Carnival?

For our thoughts on every runner in this year’s C.F. Orr Stakes field, scroll down to our detailed preview below.

2024 C.F. Orr Stakes Betting Strategy

  • 4 Units Mr Brightside (Win)
  • 1 Unit Veight (Each Way)

1 – Mr Brightside (4)

The proven class in the 2024 C.F. Orr Stakes field and a popular favourite in early betting.

Mr Brightside has been a star for a couple of seasons now, picking off several wins at the highest level and proving to be particularly effective over 1400m here at Caulfield.

There’s no doubt that he went to another level during the recent Spring Carnival, adding wins in the Memsie Stakes and the Makybe Diva Stakes to his CV, while only just missing in a Ladbrokes Cox Plate as well.

He doesn’t know how to run a bad race and will take plenty of beating again this week.

2 – Pericles (5)

Arguably one of the most talented horses in Australia that is yet to win at the highest level.

Pericles has been a standout for Godolphin since making his debut, winning four of thirteen starts, placing a further six times and finding form around some talented rivals.

His first two starts last spring, both over 1400m up in Sydney were nothing short of excellent, and if not for an unfortunate ailment, he would have gone around a clear favourite in the Epsom Handicap.

Having ended his prep an agonisingly close second in The Golden Eagle, a recent trial suggested he is very forward, and he does look to be one of the key threats to Mr Brightside in the C.F. Orr Stakes.

3 – Munhamek (9)

Fresh off the biggest win of his career and Ollie’s incredible swansong.

Munhamek has always been a credible horse in Saturday metro company, but he sprouted wings and ran on from nowhere to win the lucrative Gold Rush at Ascot back in December.

He’s been freshened since that performance and does boast a really good fresh record, but there is no doubt that this is a rise in class, and he won’t have the benefit of the veteran champion in the saddle. That being said, Blake Shinn is no slouch.

4 – Bustler (6)

Talented West Australian Bustler will make his first-ever East Coast appearance in Saturday’s feature race, and he certainly isn’t out of his depth.

The Playing God gelding turned in some outstanding performances during the Perth Summer Carnival, highlighted by his demolition job in the Group 1 Railway.

Given that he was well beaten by Munhamek in the Gold Rush at his latest appearance, and the depth of talent engaged in this race, the $51 about him in C.F. Orr Stakes betting is probably fair, but he has drawn ideally in gate 6 and is more than capable of delivering at the huge quote.

5 – Buffalo River (1)

He’s earned something of a cult status throughout the last twelve months, but Buffalo River really does look to be the rank outsider in this C.F. Orr Stakes field.

A veteran of 43 career starts, Buffalo River has undoubtedly been at his best over the 1400m here at Caulfield, and he won both the Testa Rossa Stakes and the Moonga Stakes over the route last spring.

He strips fitter for a smart first-up run in the Barton Stakes here a fortnight ago and he is worthy of a crack at the C.F. Orr, given everything stated above. It would just take a career-best performance around some of these.

6 – Ayrton (8)

One of the bigger enigmas of Australian racing throughout the last couple of years, punters rejoiced when Ayrton returned to winning form in the Barton Stakes here last time out, just his second race win for more than 18 months.

He loomed as a genuine Group 1 talent during his three-year-old season and might have been in the finish of a Stradbroke Handicap had he gained a start, but it’s fair to say that Ayrton has struggled for consistency and to find his way back into featured company.

Further to his proven record at the track and trick, fitness is what Ayrton has on his side this week, while the booking of Jamie Kah, who knows the horse extremely well, certainly doesn’t hurt his chances either.

7 – Atishu (7)

Atishu is another mare that went to another level in 2023, and she’ll use the C.F. Orr Stakes as a springboard into her major autumn targets.

The six-year-old daughter of Savabeel does boast a decent fresh record, but she has also tended to enjoy sharp improvement with one or two runs under her belt.

She was last seen recording the biggest win of her career so far in the Group 1 Champions Stakes, and she’s had the benefit of a couple of trials leading up to Saturday. Incredibly, this will be her first ever start at Caulfield, but she’s a four-time winner at 1400m.

8 – Pride Of Jenni (3)

Found career-best form during the recent Spring Carnival and is undoubtedly one of the more intriguing runners in the C.F. Orr Stakes field.

Pride Of Jenni always hinted at above-average ability, but after stripping fitter for a few fair efforts earlier in her spring preparation, she ended her campaign with consecutive Group 1 victories in the Empire Rose Stakes and the Cantala Stakes.

She might need the run on Saturday to tune-up again, but there is no doubt that Declan Bates will take her straight to the lead and bowl along this week, and she’ll be in it for a long way.

9 – Veight (2)

The C.F. Orr Stakes field’s sole three-year-old, Veight will carry just 55kgs on Saturday and is primed for another huge performance second-up.

The Grunt colt has experienced something of a meteoric rise to prominence, and he was excellent during last year’s sprint when winning in Group 3 company first-up, before finishing second in the Caulfield Guineas.

I thought that his run for fifth in the Coolmore was enormous given he was dropping back from a mile, and he was very good in Group 2 company at The Valley a fortnight ago.

He’s a winner at this point of his prep previously, he’ll relish getting out to the 1400m, and he rates as a clear threat to the early favourite in C.F. Orr Stakes betting.