Darren Weir’s stable foreman Jarrod McLean issued an ominous warning to his rivals ahead of Saturday’s $1 million Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot.
McLean and the powerful Weir camp are brimming with confidence that their star galloper is back to peak fitness and primed to record a triumphant homecoming.
McLean says Perth-owned Black Heart Bart has overcome feet issues that plagued the seven-year-old during the Melbourne spring carnival.
The Weir camp had to put a premature stop to Black Heart Bart’s campaign after he ran fifth in the Underwood Stakes (1800m) in October.
But McLean says the injury has now passed and he remains more than optimistic that Black Heart Bart can challenge for a sixth Group 1 success.
“I think we are going to see him at his best,” McLean told Tabradio’s The Sports Daily.
“We haven’t seen him at his best all spring, but he is pain free and it won’t be fitness that beats him.
“When he is pain free he is dominant and I’m pretty confident we have got him back to that level.”
Black Heart Bart ran fourth in the 2015 Railway Stakes for Perth trainer Vaughn Sigley.
Since crossing the Nullarbor and transferring to Weir he has secured Group 1 wins in the Goodwood (1200m), Memsie Stakes (1400m), Underwood Stakes (1800m), Orr Stakes (1400m) and Futurity Stakes (1400m).
In total the son of Blackfriars has won 16 races and been placed on 17 occasions from 45 starts with stake earnings soaring to near $4 million.
Black Heart Bart has been assigned 59kg top weight for the Railway Stakes. From barrier eight will be ridden by Victorian jockey, Brad Rawiller.
The record books are against Black Heart Bart as no Railway stakes winner has carried more than 58kg since Tudor Mak scored with 61kg (1967).
McLean is not bothered by the weight impost and says Black Heart Bart can defy history.
“He has to carry the weight, but is carrying it because he is a 5 time Group One winner,” McLean said.
“When Brad (Rawiller) eases him out of the straight I’m sure we will see the best horse on Saturday.”
Black Heart Bart will be joined in the capacity Railway Stakes field by stable mate, Ulmann, a winner at Caulfield two starts back.
“He is certainly deserving of a spot, but for one on one I have to lean to Black Heart Bart,” McLean said.
Scales Of Justice ($5.50) and Black Heart Bart ($6.50) head TAB markers. Ullman, to be ridden by Bunbury-born jockey, Damian Lane, is at $11.