Darren Weir has declared Black Heart Bart the benchmark horse in his stable after the six-year-old made emphatic spring statement in winning the Memsie Stakes.
“He’s the best horse I’ve got,” Weir said.
“Lucky Hussler’s a good horse but this horse is bombproof, sound but while not much to look at he loves the stable routine.”
Weir had his best season last year with a training record of 348 winners that included the Melbourne Cup with Prince Of Penzance.
In winning the weight-for-age Memsie, Black Heart Bart claimed the first Group One race of the 2016-17 Australian season.
Backed from $2.20 to $2 favourite, Black Heart Bart, under Brad Rawiller scored by 1-1/4 lengths from Rising Romance ($17) with Mahuta ($8) 2-1/4 lengths away third.
Black Heart Bart had his first preparation for Weir earlier in the year, running second in the Newmarket Handicap.
He then won The Goodwood in Adelaide before running second in the Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm.
Weir said the son of Blackfriars came back from his Queensland spell in great condition before starting a spring campaign the gelding’s owners hope will end in a Cox Plate triumph.
“He got a month of sun with some light work up there before coming home,” Weir said.
“The owners are very keen to go to the Cox Plate but they’ve said if you want to deviate along the way then we’re happy with that, but if you can, aim towards the Cox Plate.
“Really who wants to take Winx on, but we’ll see how far we get.”
Rawiller thought he might have been a little closer in the run and was surprised Rising Romance was in front of him.
But the strong pace had also set the race up perfectly.
“They went a lot quicker than we thought they would but I was certainly ready for it,” Rawiller said.
“Charmed Harmony can certainly roll along but I was certainly happy even though I was further back than I wanted to be.”
Weir said he was happy with the performance of Mahuta and Palentina (fifth) while he was a little disappointed in Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance who beat one runner home.
But jockey Harry Coffey thought the performance was satisfactory after the track was ungraded during the meeting.
“That’s not ideal for him because he doesn’t really let go on a real firm track,” Coffey said.
“But I think there was enough give there that he’ll come through the run well.”
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au