With two wins and five placings in the last 20 runnings of the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes, this race has been a cause for both celebration and frustration over the years.
Ayrton will look to join last year’s winner Jacquinot (2023) and Shinzig (2008) as winners of the CF Orr Stakes from the stable when he lines up on Saturday.
It’s been 20 years since Vocabulary ran second in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes, copping a bump at the top of the straight only to get out and miss narrowly to a champion in Lonhro. Fast forward to 2008 and it was a different story, with recent acquisition Shinzig winning in a photo from Niconero and Shinzig’s stablemate Rubiscent. Shinzig had been sent to win a Group 1 after five different stable changes and the son of Danehill duly delivered before being sent off to stud following his next run.
In 2010 and 2011, it was another champion who stood in the way of Orr Stakes success when Typhoon Tracy twice denied Heart of Dreams. The 2010 edition saw Typhoon Tracy comfortably hold off Heart of Dreams but 2011 was a tight finish with just 0.1 of a length between them. The most recent running of the race involved a bumping duel, a photo finish and an upheld result. It was in the steward’s room that Jacquinot was elevated to victory but a worthy winner of the race, as the three-year-old took on much more seasoned horses including Mr Brightside, I’m Thunderstruck and Nugget. The win only enhanced his stud credentials and he was retired two starts later to Widden Stud.
This weekend it’s Ayrton’s turn to add to the CF Orr Stakes honour roll, with co-trainer Mick Price saying the horse is as well as he can be heading into a tough race. “I’m sure he’ll do his best like he always does,” Price said. “We have a sticky gate but hopefully they roll along and he can find a good spot in the race. “He loves 1400m at Caulfield and you have to have a crack at a Group 1 with him. It will be a big day if he wins.”