First-up horses have an edge in PB Lawrence Stakes

RACING: The PB Lawrence Stakes, the feature race at Caulfield tomorrow, is set to be an extremely intriguing betting affair.

Bletchingly Stakes placegetter Mahuta has opened as a clear favourite with Ladbrokes, but recent history suggests the Bletchingly form line is the wrong one to follow in the Group 2 event.

Five of the past six winners of the PB Lawrence Stakes - Mourinho (2015), Star Rolling (2014), Puissance De Lune (2013) and Whobegotyou (2011) - went into the race first-up, and the horses heading into this race fresh may have the advantage.

One of those is talented mare Suavito, the second favourite in betting yesterday.

Suavito has won three and been placed in two of her five previous first-up starts and she beat a much stronger field than this one to take out the Group 1 Orr Stakes (1400m) at the start of her autumn campaign.

The x-factor in the PB Lawrence Stakes is the returning The Cleaner.

There is no doubt The Cleaner - beaten a nose when resuming in this race last year - will take up the running, but there is a genuine question mark over whether the nine-year-old is past his best after failing to fire in his only start in the autumn.

The other horses resuming in the PB Lawrence Stakes are the Team Hawkes-trained Entirely Platinum, Australian Cup runner-up Awesome Rock, Mornington Cup winner Berisha, Crown Oaks winners Set Square and Jameka, and talented mare Miss Rose De Lago.

Ladbrokes has a wide range of betting markets available this weekend and punters can back The Cleaner or any other horse in the PB Lawrence Stakes with the leading online bookmaker.