IN Racing
Track specialist Ayrton to contest Caufield Group One
“He just loves Caulfield, I don’t know what it is. Caufield, Ayrton and Jamie Kah is a good recipe."
LOVERACING.NZ News Desk | January 31, 2024
Ayrton is set to contest next Saturday's A$750,000 Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield. Photo: Bruno Cannatelli

New Zealand-bred galloper Ayrton has established a formidable record at Caulfield over 1400m, and will be tasked with elite-level company on his return to the course in the A$750,000 Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) on February 10.

The six-year-old son of Iffraaj has been successful in six of his seven starts at the Melbourne track and on three occasions at black-type level over 1400m, with a sixth-placing in the Gr.1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) last November being his sole defeat.

Reuniting with top Victorian jockey Jamie Kah last start, a combination that had four previous victories, Ayrton’s reign at Caulfield continued in the Listed John Dillon Stakes (1400m), giving trainers Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr confidence to nominate for next Saturday’s feature.

“He just loves Caulfield, I don’t know what it is. Caufield, Ayrton and Jamie Kah is a good recipe,” Kent Jnr told

“We had him a bit fresh to be fair and he wasn’t totally wound up, so there’s improvement to come off that break in Perth.”

Ayrton will attempt to be the third Kiwi-bred horse in four years to claim the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, with Sierra Sue and Callsign Mav triumphing in the 1400m feature in 2021 and 2022 respectively, while multiple Group One-winning Kiwi-bred Mr Brightside will be an undeniable chance to add to this record.

“He’s not as good as Mr Brightside or Alligator Blood of course, but why wouldn’t you have a look at that race, he loves that course and distance,” Kent Jnr said.

Ayrton was purchased in a private sale after trialling once in New Zealand, joining Price and Kent Jnr’s stable well known for sourcing class gallopers from across the Tasman, namely two-time Group One-winning star I’m Thunderstruck.

The Cranbourne trainers added a further six Kiwi-bred horses to their arsenal this week during Karaka’s Book 1 sale, with a Circus Maximus colt closely related to Group Two-performer Imwonderfultonight being their most expensive purchase at $160,000.

“I chuckle and wonder what would I’m Thunderstruck, Globe or Ayrton have looked like as yearlings, as they were nondescript at the time and not big-money horses,” Kent Jnr said.

“You have to use your imagination a bit, you’re coming off the Magic Millions where they are the forward, bigger and impressive types, and a week later you come to Karaka, they are more backward and have more improvement (to come).” 

Ayrton Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr Mr Brightside Karaka 2024 I'm Thunderstruck Gr.1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes