Group One, $500,000, 1800m, weight-for-age
First run in 1924 when known as Williamstown Stakes. A good lead-up to the Cox Plate.
Significant winners include: Whittier (1924/25), Phar Lap (1931), Ajax (1938-39-40), Lord (1958), Rain Lover (1969), So Called (1978), Sovereign Red (1981), Bonecrusher (1986), Jeune (1994), Octagonal (1996), Northerly (2001-02), El Segundo (2006), Ocean Tamer (2012), It’s A Dundeel (2013).
Darren Weir has three runners – Prince Of Penzance, Black Heart Bart and Howard Be Thy Name – and is aiming for a third Group One win in Melbourne for the season.
Of the 10 runners following the scratching of Our Ivanhowe, six are Group One winners – Prince Of Penzance, Black Heart Bart, Tarzino, Tavago, Howard Be They Name and Lucia Valentina.
Previous winning trainers with runners: Peter Gelagotis (The Cleaner) – Mourinho; Mick Price (Tarzino) – Heart Of Dreams.
Previous winning jockeys with rides: Brad Rawiller (Black Heart Bart) – Weekend Hussler; Steven Arnold (The Cleaner) – So You Think; Damien Oliver (Lucia Valentina) – Northerly.
KEY PLAYER COMMENTS
“I think it’s time, with where we’re going with him as a true staying horse, to take the blinkers off, let him relax and give him the benefit of the doubt that he’s going to attack the line” – Tarzino’s trainer Mick Price.
“I don’t think Black Heart Bart will have a problem with the 1800 metres as long as he relaxes but on my bloke’s last win he’s as good a chance as any of them” – Awesome Rock’s jockey Stephen Baster.
“She’s a lot bigger than she has been in previous years. She’s filled out now” – Mal Ollerton, foreman for Lucia Valentina’s trainer Kris Lees.
THE EARLY MONEY
With Our Ivanhowe scratched because of a cut suffered in a beach mishap, Black Heart Bart remains the short-priced $2.30 favourite, firming from $2.50.
Lucia Valentina firmed from $4.20 to $4 and Awesome Rock tightened from $7.50 to $7.