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The CF Orr Stakes is the opening Group 1 of the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival. Run over 1400m at Caulfield, the race has a long and prestigious honour roll including some absolute champions of the turf. Kiwi star and spring grand slam winner Rising Fast won the race in 1956. Manikato saluted on three occasions from 1979-81, as did iron horse Vo Rogue from 1988-90.
Bart’s champion chestnut Saintly, super stallion Redoute’s Choice, the black flash Lonhro and ‘Elvis’ Elvstroem have all been winners of the race. In more recent years we saw arguably the best sprinter in history Black Caviar, take out the event at her only go at 1400m.
I think it’s fair to say we won’t see a horse of that quality win this year’s race but nevertheless we have a strong 12 horse field looking to win the $750k feature, perhaps on their way to bigger and better things this preparation.
The race has been dominated by favourites in recent years but looking at this year’s market, it looks a very open race. Sportsbet has the Freedman trained Sinawann favourite at $4.40 ahead of Adelaide’s pride Behemoth at $5.50. Golden Eagle winner Im Thunderstruck, dogged mare Tofane and American import Lighthouse are also under double figures.
We know with horse racing that anything can happen and races like these are not easy to assess. So, we have dissected each of the horses’ chances for you! Read on below to find our runner by runner preview of the 2022 CF Orr Stakes along with The Shark’s best tips.
1. Im Thunderstruck (11) – $6.50
Jockey – Jye McNeil
Trainer – Mick Price & Michael Kent Jr
“He has really furnished in his time away from racing in the paddock.”
— Racing.com (@Racing) February 7, 2022
Resumes here off a 105 day spell. Progressed from winning a Sale maiden to the G1 Toorak Handicap and $7.5m Golden Eagle last prep. His last run at this track and trip was in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes where he savaged the line. He will be ridden back from the wide draw here and will be looking to do the same. Would like to think he has come back a bigger, stronger 4yo this campaign and that alone should stamp him as one of the horses to beat.
2. Cascadian (1) – $19
Jockey – Damien Oliver
Trainer – James Cummings
Evergreen gelding who albeit didn’t grace the winners stall last prep, ran some big races in some of the country’s features. He has a good fresh record and attacked the line well first up last prep in the Winx Stakes behind Mo’unga. His Caulfield stats don’t read well on paper (4:0-0-0) but he hasn’t been far away on those occasions. From the inside gate he will be back midfield or worse and looking for some luck in the straight. Could sneak a place.
3. Behemoth (9) – $5.50
Jockey – Jamie Kah
Trainer – David Jolly
Three time Group 1 winner at this track and trip. Resumed in the Durbridge at Morphettville last start as an odds on favourite but wasn’t able to run down smart sprinter Kemalpasa. They ran very good closing sectionals in that race and although he got beat, the run suggests he has come back in good order. Gets to his pet trip here and gets J Kah on. Looks hard to toss second up.
4. Wild Planet (3) – $21
Jockey – Damian Thornton
Trainer – Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes
Resumed in the Australia Stakes where he was simply run off his legs behind Marabi. His late sectionals were good and draws to get a good run here up to the 1400m. He won the Group 3 Moonga Stakes at his most recent outing at Caulfield and although I couldn’t put him on top, I wouldn’t be surprised to see an improved effort.
— Josh Blanksby (@JoshBlanksby) February 8, 2022
5. Secret Blaze (10) – $126
Jockey – Jordan Childs
Trainer – Tony & Calvin McEvoy
Stayer resuming here in what looks to be a race a bit out of his depth. No fresh wins and his best form is over 10 furlongs and beyond. A win would be surprising.
6. Just Folk (4) – $91
Jockey – Dean Holland
Trainer – Joshua Julius
Honest gelding who resumed and was no match behind Marabi at the Valley. Was only beaten a length in the Cantala Stakes last prep at Group 1 level but feel he may just be a cog below some of his rivals here. Not the worst.
7. Sinawann (6) – $4.40F
Jockey – Craig Williams
Trainer – Anthony & Sam Freedman
Irish import who has made a big impression since arriving in Australia last year. His win in the Group 3 Heffernan Hcp was very good and I was equally as impressed with his fast finishing 2nd to Marabi first up this prep. His second up record speaks for itself (4:3-0-0) and the step up to 1400m looks more than ideal. He’s drawn well in 6 and should get every opportunity to go one better here.
8. Tofane (8) – $6.50
Jockey – Mark Zahra
Trainer – Michael Moroney
Gee whiz Sinawaan, Thunderstruck and company are gonna need to be turned out a treat to knock off @BallymoreStabls Tofane as CF Orr Stakes pick of the yard @MelbRacingClub @superracing @RacenetTweets pic.twitter.com/bLSPwGpcOQ
— Gilbert Gardiner (@gilbertgardiner) February 9, 2022
Tough mare who resumes here after a long and consistent preparation. Was narrowly defeated in the Memsie and Makybe Diva behind Behemoth and Incentivise before giving a lot of weight to Im Thunderstruck and narrowly going down in the Group 1 Toorak. Although she hasn’t won first up, she is usually around the mark and can’t see that changing here. If she can slot in from the gate and get an economical run she will be in it for a long way.
9. Sierra Sue (7) – $11
Jockey – John Allen
Trainer – Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young
Honest mare resuming here. Found her best form last prep to win the Mildura Cup, PB Lawrence Stakes and the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes here at Caulfield. Has won twice fresh and is unbeaten at 1400m around Caulfield. Drawn well and is one of the leading chances in a competitive race.
10. Inspirational Girl (12) – $19
Jockey – Damian Lane
Trainer – Danny O’Brien
Talented Perth mare who brings a good record into this race winning 9 from 13. She has only had the one run for trainer Danny O’Brien where she finished 5th in last year’s Memsie Stakes here at Caulfield. Her form prior in WA was strong including a Group 1 win in the Railway Stakes. She should have no trouble measuring up to this grade but feel she may be better as the distances increase. Look for her to be strong late.
11. Lighthouse (2) – $9.00
Jockey – Ben Allen
Trainer – Ciaron Maher & David Eustace
American import who is building an imposing record here in Australia. Strung four wins together before tasting her first defeat in the land down under last start behind Open Minded. She tried hard on that occasion and was far from disgraced. First go at WFA here is the test but she has drawn well and has to be considered.
12. Lightsaber (5) – $12
Jockey – Blaike McDougall
Trainer – Peter G Moody
The lone 3yo of the field. Though the first up run behind Marabi was only fair. He raced like a horse wanting 1400m which he gets here or even a mile. Has drawn well and no stable is going better than that of P G Moody’s lately but I think we will wait until he’s back to his own age.
— Racing.com (@Racing) February 7, 2022
This year’s CF Orr Stakes looks a very even and competitive race on paper. A lot of form is tied in together through these runners on different tracks and over longer/ shorter journeys.
Im Thunderstruck will be looking to resume with a bang after a super prep last time in which saw him pocket almost $5m in prize money, whilst Behemoth will be out to go one better after tasting defeat first up over 1100m. Up to his pet trip you would think he gets his chance to do so.
Race favourite Sinawann will be looking to do the same after chasing hard behind Marabi last start. The step up in trip also looks to aid his chances. Of the mares Tofane and Sierra Sue both have good fresh form and are more than capable of winning this race over the seven furlongs and the grey mare Lighthouse can easily measure up here at her first go at WFA.
Just some of the stars you’ll get to see on our coverage this weekend of @royalrandwick and Caulfield!
Think It Over
Lost and Running
— 7HorseRacing 🐎 (@7horseracing) February 9, 2022
With all that said and done, I’m leaning towards the Mike Moroney trained mare Tofane. She really found a purple patch of form last preparation, which saw her win two Group 1’s on the hop and finish a gallant 2nd in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap. On that occasion she gave the winner Im Thunderstruck 6kg. The tables are turned here and she meets him 8kg better.
She has contested a number of major sprint races like The Everest and the Newmarket and feel she could be a bit sharper than most of her rivals here fresh over the 1400m. Her lone start at this track/ trip saw her finish a close 3rd in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes. Looking at the speed map, it looks as though she will get a cosy run just behind the leaders and I’m sure she has the right form and credentials to be fighting out the finish.
Best CF Orr Stakes Tip: 8. Tofane – Each Way ($6.50/$2.35)
If you need more news, information and tips, head over to our CF Orr Stakes page for all your punting needs!
*Odds correct at time of writing, courtesy of Sportsbet.