Orr Stakes plan for Alabama Express

Mathew Toogood
Trainer Mike Moroney will give 3yo Alabama Express his chance against older horses in the Orr

Mike Moroney is preparing to throw stakes winning three-year-old Alabama Express in the deep end to chase a Group One win against older horses in the C F Orr Stakes.

The trainer has a high opinion of Alabama Express and is keen to give the colt his chance at weight-for-age in Saturday's Orr (1400m) at Caulfield with a view to enhancing his value as a stallion prospect.

Alabama Express won the Listed Gothic Stakes against his own age over the Orr Stakes course and distance in the spring.

He returned in stylish fashion, winning an 1100m-handicap for three-year-olds at Flemington on January 18.

"At this stage the plan is to go to the Group One," Moroney said.

"If we think it's going to be too strong we'll have a look at the three-year-old race (Autumn Stakes) on the same day.

"But my advice to the owners, of which I'm one of them, would be to run and take them on in the Group One."

Alabama Express is on the second line of early betting at $6 in the TAB's all-in market for the Orr along with Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes winner Begood Toya Mother and multiple Group One winner Hey Doc.

Scales Of Justice, who won the Group One Memsie Stakes over the course and distance last spring and made a winning return this preparation in the Group Two Australia Stakes (1200m) at The Valley on January 24, is $3.50 favourite.

Nominations for the Orr will be released on Monday.

"He's going to have to improve to say that he's going to beat them but being a colt we'd like to have a go at a Group One," Moroney said.

"He's won at Caulfield over 1400 metres before so it looks a good track for him.

"I think he is up to the better three-year-olds, it's just a matter of whether he's going to be up to the better weight-for-age horses.

"He's a horse who can make his own luck. He can race on the speed or just off the speed."

The last three-year-old to win the Orr was All Too Hard in 2013.

Alabama Express is by the late champion sire Redoute's Choice and is the final foal of Encosta De Lago mare Lago Ovation, who died in 2017.