The Group 1 Futurity Stakes was always likely to become a Darren Weir benefit, and that’s just how it turned out when his stable star, Black Heart Bart, got up in the final stride under Brad Rawiller to beat stablemate Tosen Stardom to give the Ballarat trainer the quinella.
The winner landed the second leg of the big Caulfield 1400-metre autumn group 1 double having scored in the CF Orr Stakes a fortnight earlier while the second, a Japanese import, made a slashing return having been off the track for nearly six months.
Black Heart Bart, the $1.90 favourite, won his fourth 1400 metre race at Caulfield in less than a year, with three of them (the Orr, Futurity and Memsie Stakes in the spring) at group 1 level to add to the Victoria Handicap, which kicked off his sequence.
When declarations closed for this race early in the week there were only seven entries, with four of them (the first two here, plus Palentino and Lucky Hussler) from the Weir yard.
The race was re-opened and a couple more were added, but nothing really ever looked like upsetting the champion trainer’s applecart although it looked for much of the race as though the “wrong” horse (from the punters’ perspective) would win, as $17 chance Tosen Stardom looked to have the race in safe keeping until Black Heart Bart’s relentless late run nailed him after Rawiller had to work hard all the way up the straight.
“Either way I didn’t care which way it [the photo finish] went for me, but both the horses ran good. Lucky Hussler and Palentino ran well, too.”
The slow pace early on didn’t suit the winner, who is best seen finishing hard off a quick tempo. But good horses know how to get the job done whatever the circumstances.
“Jeez, what a horse Black Heart Bart is,” Weir said. “He looked under pressure on the corner, they didn’t go as quick as I thought they would and he has just got a will to win, hasn’t he. He just keeps building, you wouldn’t want him chasing you. What a horse, Brad rode him great.”
The Orr and the Futurity were Black Heart Bart’s autumn targets, and Weir is now undecided what to do next - whether to head to Sydney, or freshen him up for the Adelaide carnival in May.
“There’s some thought of the Goodwood, it’s gone to a million dollars now and it’s a quality handicap, so 59 or 59.5 [kilograms] will probably be the most he can get.”
Rawiller was relieved when his number went up. “All merit to him, I was happy that I got a beautiful run three back, but the speed … I was worried down the side that the pressure had not come on to them.
“I could see the second horse having a really good run, and in the straight I thought I am going to really need to be at my best.”
News: Michael Lynch, SMH