Danny O’Brien is using the Orr Stakes as a litmus test to find out whether his talented mare Sovereign Award can handle racing at the highest level.
O’Brien believes Sovereign Award’s form at the end of last spring entitles her to a shot at a Group One race such as the Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
“She finished her spring campaign with three wins, including two Group Three wins, so she deserves her chance at something better,” O’Brien said.
“She’s won her way into a race like this. I’m hoping she can get a win and further her case to get into the All-Star Mile as we’ve got to get the voters to get behind her.
“She went out in great form and she’s returned in the same manner.
“She looks great. She’s been a slow maturer. She’s always been wanting to run hard but she’s learning to settle better with age.”
Sovereign Award ended her spring with a victory in the Tesio Stakes at The Valley and O’Brien only has to look back six years to find it is a good form reference for the autumn.
In 2015, the Nigel Blackiston-trained Suavito won the Futurity Stakes first-up after ending her previous spring campaign with a win in the Tesio and then Matriarch Stakes.
“I’m hoping this is the campaign where she takes her game to another level. She deserves her chance to do that,” O’Brien said.
“If she runs really well I’ll also look at the Futurity Stakes with her but we’re trying to find out whether she’s up to the All-Star Mile.”
O’Brien has kept the five-year-old mare lightly raced and she has only had 16 starts, winning eight of them.
At her last three wins she has been ridden by Jamie Kah, who retains the ride at Caulfield on Saturday.
Sovereign Award has drawn barrier five and O’Brien believes she should get a great run on the speed, behind the other on-pace runners in the race, Streets Of Avalon and Crosshaven
Sovereign Award is a $10 chance with TAB fixed odds which has marked Sir Dragonet as a $3 favourite.