WA star Black Heart Bart heads a strong team of Darren Weir-trained gallopers for the G2 P B Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
The Blackfriars gelding is unbeaten in four runs over the Caulfield 1400m, including Group 1 weight-for-age wins in the Memsie Stakes, C F Orr Stakes and Futurity Stakes last season.
Black Heart Bart has opened a $2.50 favourite for the $200,000 weight-for-age feature which was previously known as the J J Liston Stakes. “He looks fantastic and goes in with a bit of improvement to come for the spring carnival,” Weir’s foreman Jarrod McLean said on Thursday. “But you would be a brave man to say he could not win.
“He had had a soft trial at Donald before a harder hit-out at Coleraine on Monday. He’s an incredibly sound horse and is probably about 90% right.”
Black Heart Bart is reigning WA Horse of the Year and he earned more silverware for Scenic Lodge champion Blackfriars last weekend.
Scenic Lodge general manager Jeremy Smith received TBWA Awards for last season’s Champion Sire (Blackfriars) and Broodmare of the Year (Sister Theresa) at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Saturday evening.
Bob Peters was also on the dais to accept his latest award for WA Breeder of the Year. One of the highlights was Star Exhibit’s victory in the G2 Perth Cup before a subsequent transfer to Weir.
Star Exhibit (Statue Of Liberty) starts first-up in the Lawrence Stakes and is on the fifth line of markets at $11. “He’s been very good for us winning the Anniversary Vase at Caulfield and then finishing second in the Doomben Cup,” Weir’s racing manager Jeremy Rogers said. “He’s heading towards the Caulfield Cup and should get a nice run just off the speed.
“There wasn’t much left for him after the Doomben Cup and Bob wanted to give him a spell up in Queensland. He’s come back looking great and will improve on whatever he does this Saturday.”
Weir has Blackfriars gelding Chocolate Holic ready to atone in the LR Regal Roller Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield. His program was interrupted by a hoof abscess followed by an abandoned meeting and that may have explained a disappointing first-up effort in the G3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) a fortnight ago.
Chocolate Holic’s owners Grant & Alana Williams sent him east after 7 wins from 11 starts in Perth.
Blackfriars (Danehill) has been Champion WA Sire for the last 7 years and is constantly ranked in the Australian Top 20. “His fee is unchanged at $12,000 this year,” Smith said. “He’s amazing value considering the fees of similar standard stallions in NSW and Victoria.”
He stands alongside Snippetson ($6,000), Universal Ruler ($3,500) and Dash For Cash ($2,500). All fees (plus gst). Scenic Lodge fees are subject to discount structures and for further details, contact Jeremy Smith on 0419 943 356.