Shillelagh (r) needs to overcome a wide draw to win the Group One Orr Stakes at Caulfield.
Chris Waller has lamented the barrier draw for quality mare Shillelagh in the C F Orr Stakes but the trainer is still not discounting the dual Group One winner if the breaks go her way.
Waller has two genuine hopes in Australia’s first Group One race of 2019 on Saturday at Caulfield, with Shillelagh, a dual Group One winner at Flemington, at $21 on race eve while Rosehill Guineas winner D’Argento is more favoured at $10 in the 15-horse field.
Shillelagh is set to jump from barrier 13 while D’Argento has the inside draw.
“I was disappointed with the draw for Shillelagh but you can’t have everything your own way,” Waller said.
“She ran in the race last year and got home well. Obviously she runs better at Flemington than she does at Caulfield.
“I’d say from the draw she just needs to find a bit of cover and she’ll be rattling home late.
“If she gets a bit of luck she can certainly win the race, but she will need luck.”
Shillelagh finished 10th of 14th first-up in last year’s Orr, beaten just over two lengths in a bunched finish.
Waller said the $5 million All-Star Mile at Flemington next month was an obvious target for the mare.
D’Argento was winless during his five-start spring campaign but was placed three times including his second to Hartnell in a photo-finish to the Group One Epsom Handicap.
First-up last campaign he finished third to champion stablemate Winx in the Winx Stakes over 1400m, beating home Orr Stakes favourite Kementari.
“He had a different type of preparation in terms of what he achieved in the spring,” Waller said.
“He’s better than most of those runs.
“It’s good to see him draw well and he should run well fresh.”
D’Argento is already a Group One winner of the Rosehill Guineas over 2000m and Waller said wide draws had played against him in a couple of other major races last season.
He gets the chance to secure a Group One win over a shorter distance to add to his appeal as a stallion prospect.
“He can win the race,” Waller said.
“The 1400 metres is right on the short end of his distance range, that’s my only concern. But if he jumps and travels well, he’ll let down strongly.”