The CF Orr Stakes is the first Group 1 of the new year and it headlines a blockbuster day of racing at Caulfield on Saturday, February 6th.
We have nine runners set to line up over the 1400m, with the market currently headed by last year’s Cox Plate winner Sir Dragonet.
Trent Crebbin has provided his speed map, runner-by-runner analysis and betting strategy for Saturday’s feature race below!
2021 C.F. Orr Stakes Runner-by-Runner Preview
I’d expect (5) Streets Of Avalon to come across and take up the running, out to 1400m 2nd up. (9) Sovereign Award has the option to hold him out, but I think they’ll take a sit just off the leader. The 3yo (10) Crosshaven should be able to lob into the 1-1 from barrier 4, with (7) Blazejowski on the rails. (4) Angel Of Truth has more early speed than some of these and probably lobs midfield with (2) Sir Dragonet three back the fence. (3) Fifty Stars and (6) Imaging likely go back, with (1) Humidor and (8) Arcadia Prince bringing up the rear.
The old boy is back again and coming off his best recent preparation, with Chris Waller working his magic and getting the horse to find form again. He managed to win first up off 10 weeks in the Feehan Stakes, however that was over a more suitable 1600m and was given a beautiful ride. Even in his prime with Weir he took a run to find some form, and from the wide gate I’d expect him to be snicked to last and just hit the line.
(2) Sir Dragonet
Very interesting runner now that he’s accepted. Whether he runs is still up to the weather- if the rain misses and it’s a good surface, I believe they’ll scratch him, but a soft track means he runs. His recent trial was exceptionally good when ridden positively, leading and doing it easily under no riding over 1200m. I can’t see them being as positive here with a few quicker types, and three back on the fence looks his likely settling position. He’s clearly the best horse in the race- the Cox Plate win was outstanding but it’s whether he can perform at 1400m, given he’s never once raced below 2000m in his life. If the tempo is even and he has to sprint quickly I’m not sure I want to take ~$3.00 that he’ll be able to pick them up, especially if it’s a drying track, as he’s never won on a good surface.
(4) Angel Of Truth
Actually went out last prep in some good form, running 3rd in a Metropolitan when leading. The run first up over 1400m on a heavy 10 was very good, albeit in listed grade behind Man Of Peace. His first up record is generally strong with 2 wins from 6 starts, but they were as a younger horse in class 2 company. Can’t see him featuring in this company, but a wet track would help.
(5) Streets Of Avalon
Annoyed I didn’t take the $34 available after the Australia Stakes win, because he should be even better suited here. The Caulfield 1400m is his favourite T/D and he’s coming off his best ever first up run & win. I’m basically putting a line through last prep where he continually drew wide gates or soft tracks. He has won a group 1 at this T/D in the Futurity and whilst he had absolutely everything in his favour that day, it should still be respected. The issue here is the track condition- he simply doesn’t go on wet tracks. Even a soft 5 would be enough to nearly rule him out. There isn’t much speed so he should be able to take up the running, even from the sticky gate, but he’d need a bone dry track to win this and until confirmation race morning he’s hard to back.
Very capable Sydney galloper that has never raced in Melbourne, but certainly has the right form to feature here. His first Australian run he pulled up lame before winning a group 2 on a heavy track, and last prep over 1200m he ran a luckless 3rd to Eduardo and Flit in the Missile Stakes, again on a heavy track. His 1400m form is excellent, with his one Australian start at the trip an unlucky and enormous 4th to Verry Elleegant in the Winx Stakes. That was in a brutally run race which certainly helped, and I doubt he’ll strike the same race shape here. Waller horses, especially early in their preps, often go back from wide gates. I’ve got him worse than midfield, but if we’re on a genuinely rain affected track and they’re getting to the outside, he’s a huge chance with Willo taking the ride. I’d want to monitor track conditions before backing him, but on a soft 6 or worse I think he has to be a result.
No idea where his win last start came from because he was going awfully before that in the same company. He’s a handy horse with a good strike rate overall and at the distance, but he’s never been in group 1 company (even if this is a weak group 1). His best win was in a group 3, and truth be told he was going better then, than he is now. The WFA scale is against him and whilst he’s a fit horse coming off a strong win, I don’t think he’ll be measuring up.
(8) Arcadia Prince
The off-brand, high school dropout brother to Arcadia Queen. That’s probably a bit harsh for a horse that’s won 7 of 17 and won nearly half a million dollars, but I can’t see him featuring here. He was first up off a very long spell and ran okay in the Australia Stakes, beaten 4.4L by Streets Of Avalon and can definitely improve off that, but he’d need to recapture his 2018 Summer form and then some to be competitive here. His best win was in a fairly average WA group 3, and that looks more his level.
(9) Sovereign Award
One of the other main pace influences in the race, with this mare having won her last three races before a spell. She’s 1 from 1 at the 1400m in a mare’s bm70, but her last two wins have been in group 3 company over 1600m. Always loathe to oppose a mare that’s gone out in career best form, but she’s horribly weighted here in much harder company. I suspect they’ll have her fairly fit to try and get All Star Mile votes and she could plug away into the top 4 but I highly doubt she wins.
The lone 3yo of the field who was set to jump favourite before Sir Dragonet accepted. The 3yo’s have a strong record in this race, although a lot of their wins were a while ago before Alabama Express won very nicely last year. Crosshaven was probably the most consistent Melbourne 3yo in the Spring, winning the Guineas Prelude and Carbine Club, and he had a torrid run in the Caulfield Guineas when wide on a hot speed, only beaten 2.8L by Ole Kirk. He hasn’t had a long break, with the stable confident he’s got residual fitness, and he won a Geelong trial under riding, again with the stable saying he never trials or jumps out well. I love the map for him here- drawn barrier 4 he very likely lands in the 1-1, off a decent tempo and just peels out with the light weight to give chase. A soft track will be fine and if Sir Dragonet has to search for a run and not able to build momentum for a horse better over further, this guy could be off and gone.
I’m with the 3yo Crosshaven. I think he fits the bill nicely for a 3yo looking to win this race, and strikes a fairly weak edition, with only a couple of genuine group one horses engaged. The map is perfect, 1400m is ideal and a soft track poses no issues. Sir Dragonet will be popular because he’s close to the best horse in Australia off the Cox Plate win. The trial win was very good when leading, but I can’t imagine he’ll be leading here. If the track stays soft and he does end up running, I’m prepared to have egg on my face and risk him at 1400m from a slightly tricky barrier. Imaging looks the danger- his Sydney form is very good and the fresh run last prep in the Winx Stakes was huge. A repeat of that probably wins this, and although the draw isn’t ideal, I’ll keep him on side, especially on wet ground.
Danger: (6) Imaging $6.50 Sportsbet
Betting Strategy- 2 units WIN Crosshaven, 0.5 units WIN Imaging