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Orr Stakes return for Awesome Rock

The world stage awaits Awesome Rock who will launch his campaign in the C F Orr Stakes at Caulfield.

Saturday’s 1400m event is the first Group One race pencilled in for the Emirates Stakes winner in a campaign that could also include feature races in Dubai and Hong Kong.

Awesome Rock is scheduled to contest the Orr Stakes, Peter Young Stakes and the Australian Cup (2000m) in Melbourne.

“As long as he runs well in those three then he will definitely head to Dubai,” co-trainer Troy Corstens said.

“If he races well in Dubai we’ll stop off at Hong Kong on the way home.”

The $US6 million ($A7.8 million) Dubai Turf (1800m) is the race Awesome Rock would contest in Dubai on March 25 while the Hong Kong option is the QEII Cup (2000m) on April 30.

Corstens, who trains in partnership with his father Leon, said it was exciting to be looking at those races with Awesome Rock who lost last year’s Australian Cup on protest to Preferment.

He broke through at Group One level in the $2 million Emirates Stakes (2000m) at Flemington in November.

Awesome Rock is one of 10 Group One winners among the 17 nominations for Saturday’s race and Corstens believes he has come back as well as last campaign.

“I’m not saying he can win but I’d be really disappointed if he didn’t run really well,” Corstens said.

“We’ve got a long preparation ahead of us and obviously his best form is over a mile to 2000 metres, but he is well and nice and fresh.”

Black Heart Bart has opened the $3.40 favourite ahead of Malaguerra at $4 and Lucky Hussler at $7.50 while Awesome Rock is at $26.

Awesome Rock was taken to Moonee Valley to gallop on Monday morning.

“We took him there with a partner and the partner sort of took off a bit,” Corstens said.

“So the work wasn’t perfect for the other horse but it was really good for Awesome Rock because he settled beautifully and then really had to chase down the other horse hard.”

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