It’s Holy Sunday
This weekend we’ll see some amazing racing in both Sydney and Melbourne, but it’s on the Sabbath at Caulfield that we will see the running of the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes worth over $400,000, and as per usual, it has attracted some of the best sprinters and milers in the Australia.
Where to start to make a dollar though? It may not be as obvious as the nose on your face, given that favourites have a rather poor record in the race and only two favourites have won in the last ten years.
The race always attracts a big field en-route to Spring riches, and this year is no different, with a field of eighteen plus the John Thompson trained Peron as first emergency.
Perhaps we should start with this talented mare because Peron (currently $11 Fixed Odds with tab.com.au) has been tagged as a horse of great potential from the time she first graced a track.
When trained in Queensland, she cruised through her lower grades effortlessly, winning her first stakes race in the Gai Waterhouse Classic at Ipswich as a 3yo filly. Her first-up run in the Sheraco Stakes was super when she powered home along the fence for a strong second behind Driefontein after spotting the winner a massive start when turning for home. Make no bones about it; although this is a significant class rise, should she get a run on Sunday she will make her presence felt.
Linton ($17) is a last start Group 1 Stradbroke winner - impressive I know, but come on… the run along the fence that he got that day was surely something sent from above.
Rebel Dane ($5 with tab.com.au) trained by Gary Portelli is the early favourite, and most experts are of the opinion that the step up to 1400m is ideal for him.
He was probably finding his Melbourne feet last time out in the Bobby Lewis at Flemington behind Speediness who, by the way, was very strong in the last 50m. Some would say Gary may need to be on his knees saying a few prayers after coming up with barrier 16 but outside barriers do have an impressive record in this race. With the track currently rated a Slow 7 and showers forecast – punters would be wise to remember Rebel Dane ran Pierro to a head in the Hobartville Stakes on a heavy track.
Peter Moody’s charge, Strawberry Boy ($6), looks a messiah in the making, having won six out of ten. ‘God Bless’ may be the first words spoken out of owner John Singleton’s mouth if he were to be first past the post, and he is unbeaten second-up from a spell. Add to that he will carry just 52kg’s and it may be his time to shine.
Australian Guineas winner Ferlax ($9.50 with tab.com.au) is shaping up as a major contender following his impressive 2nd behind Atlantic Jewel (when finishing in front of subsequent Underwood Stakes winner, It’s A Dundeel) and he drops a couple of kilos too. The slight reservation I have with Ferlax is that it will be a month between runs but I’m prepared to overlook that when assessing his chances.
And of course it would be remiss of me not to mention the Queenslanders. I prefer Temple of Boom ($17) at Flemington, but if it’s wet, look out; and Solzhenitsyn ($8), who I thought ran a bottler in the Theo Marks behind Riva De Lago, has to be considered.
One thing is for sure…I think you will see the Sir Rupert Clarke run at a genuine speed on a ‘softish’ track – how soft, well, we won’t know that until race day.
So this Sunday, pick up the holy grails, the form guide that is, and find yourself a nice First Four or even better, a juicy Quaddie.
My predications are Ferlax to beat Solzhenitsyn, Strawberry Boy and Rebel Dane.
G2 - The Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle Race (class 1)
G2 - The Stanjames.com Champion Hurdle Trial (class 1)
G2 - The Peter Marsh Steeple Chase (a Limited Handicap)
G2 - The Altcar Novices' Steeple Chase (class 1)
G2 - The Olbg.com Mares' Hurdle Race (class 1)