Caulfield Racing: 2017 CF Orr Stakes Betting Tips

February 10, 2017 by Posted in Horse Racing Tips

The Group 1 CF Orr Stakes is the first Group 1 of the year and headlines a bumper card at Caulfield as we march on towards the Autumn.

A cracking field of 12 has been assembled for the 1400m event with 9 of those having won at Group 1 level. The other three – Arod, Ecuador and Miss Rose De Lago – have all either won at Group 2 level or placed in Group 1s.

The tempo could be the key to the race here given the top two in the market have drawn wide. I expect Malaguerra to push forward from 12 but with pace likely to come from Ecuador and Miss Rose De Lago on his inside, he may not have the easiest time finding the front or slotting in.

Turn Me Loose has led all the way at Group 1 level over this track and distance but was sluggish first up at the Valley so it’s hard to predict where he will settle, while Arod could find himself in the box seat from barrier 1. Palentino and Divine Prophet should enjoy good runs in midfield, with He’s Our Rokkii probably slotting in worse than midfield. Jameka comes into this first up but draws poorly in 10 so it remains to be seen whether they go forward or take her back, or risk getting caught wide. Lucky Hussler should get a terrific run worse than midfield from barrier 4, while Black Heart Bart and Awesome Rock will likely drift back.

If Malaguerra had have drawn a gate I think he’d be pretty close to a good thing here but the fact he’s drawn 12 of 12 makes it very hard for me to back him with confidence. If he goes forward, which I think they have to, he risks having to spend petrol early, which may not be ideal at his first go over 1400m since June last year. If he manages to find a good position early without using much energy, he’ll be extremely tough to beat, but Ben Melham has a tough job on his hands.

For that reason I’m prepared to side with Black Heart Bart here, despite him also drawing poorly. He will have to come from close enough to last but you know what you’re going to get with this horse. From 11 starts for Darren Weir he’s finished outside the top two only once, which was in the Cox Plate last year. He’s missed the top two only once from 11 starts over 1400m (which includes six wins), has three wins and a second from four starts at the track (undefeated over track and distance) and has finished in the top two at five of his six starts when second up from a spell. Those statistics are nothing short of phenomenal, and the step up to 1400m here is what sways me to put him on top.

He’s not Weir’s only hope in the race, however, as Lucky Hussler draws perfectly in barrier 4 following a luckless run in the Gold Coast Magic Millions Cup, which he really should have won. I do think Bart is the better horse, but this horse draws to get all the favours and his last two runs suggest he’s back somewhere near his best.

Palentino rounds out the stable’s representatives, and although he ran a blinder first up at the Valley, I think I’ll be waiting til his next start (likely the Futurity in two weeks) to back him. He, too, should get a great run from barrier 7 but his Caulfield record isn’t great and he typically saves his best for the Flemington mile.

The most interesting runner in the lone three-year-old Divine Prophet, winner of the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas. We’ve seen the three-year-old sprinters dominate the older horses and it will be interesting to see if the same happens here in the middle distance races. This horse is supremely talented, but this is a red hot field and I just wonder if he is ready to win first up over 1400m against these older horses. He does map to get a lovely run, however, and he has the ability to reel off a sizzling 400m sectional.

Miss Rose De Lago won first up at Group 2 level over course and distance last prep and she should get a very good run up on speed from barrier 5 but I have doubts over her ability to match it with the best horses here, while the same could be said about He’s Our Rokkii (despite him being a Group 1 winner). The Hayes/Dabernig runner does have tremendous stats at the track and distance but whether he is as good as the Malaguerra’s and Black Heart Bart’s of this world yet is questionable.

Ecuador has returned in terrific form this prep and does have a handy runner-up placing behind Winx to his name, but this is certainly a step up on what he’s been beating so far this prep. Jameka may need the run, as will Arod in my opinion (and Chris Waller’s), while Awesome Rock will need a few runs before stepping up to his pet distance of 2000m.

The blowout could be Turn Me Loose who has won a Group 1 over this track and distance, and the step up to 1400m second up certainly favours him. The question is whether he is the same horse these days.

Sticking with the trusty Black Heart Bart but if Malaguerra gets any luck he’ll be very hard to beat.


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