Racing

Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes Preview

Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes

DUAL Group 1 action greets punters this Saturday with the running of the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes and Underwood Stakes at Caulfield.

12Follow’s Jake Henson and Matt Taylor preview the first of those two, set to be run over 1400m.

Jake Henson: The first truly big day of the Spring has arrived Matthew Taylor and provided not much rain hits Melbourne today (Thursday) it should be a cracking day with two Group 1’s on the card at Caulfield.

Matt Taylor: It certainly should be, I can’t wait! We’re at Caulfield again but the rail goes back to the true position this week – how do you see the track playing Jake?

JH: Well it’s fair to say that Jason Kerr and his staff at Caulfield have been set a grand task, only the ghost of Phar Lap could explain to me why they need to race on this track five Saturdays in a row. It’s bordering on farcical that they’ll be here again next Saturday (AFL Grand Final Day). It would have broken things up nicely taking that meeting elsewhere and it will certainly test out the track staff.

However, it’s the best racing surface in Australia and it ‘should’ play fair and pretty even again this Saturday. Advantage to those horses sitting just off the pace. I think if it stays dry that the best running lane will be in the range of two-six metres off the fence suiting those horses racing in the first six. The middle ground that had ten races worth of horses trudge across it last week should be ok but perhaps not A1 and the extreme outside lane that is normally a few superior on rain-affected going not likely to be a factor with the rail True.

MT: It is a bit outrageous isn’t it, but if there’s any track that can handle the workload it is Caulfield. I’m taking from your assessment that the fastest horses should get their chance – all other things being equal – which should set it up for a good day’s racing.

But Jake, if you’d told me 12 months ago that Counterattack and Voodoo Lad would be one and two in the early market for an open age Group 1 race I’d have thought you were taking me for a ride. That’s the situation we’re presented with here in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes over 1400m – what do you think of the race as a whole?

JH: Well I think that both horses are slightly under the odds, I’ll start by saying that. I have reservations about that race Voodoo Lad won at Moonee Valley, I know Keen Array came out and won last week but this week the horse goes up to 1400m in a harder race where the tempo looks solid. He’s $5 in early play, I’ve got him at $7. Counterattack is $3.40 currently but a $5 chance in my market. He was the good thing beaten last time but once again finds a much tougher race. Speed looks to be hot with Charmed Harmony, Xtravagant, Thames Court, Jungle Edge and even Mr Individual ensuring they roll along.

MT: I’m a Counterattack fan and he was definitely stiff in Sydney first up when not receiving the best steer. But that was in a relatively weaker race and isn’t enough to justify the quote here. Similarly, I’m finding it hard to get excited about the price for Voodoo Lad. The one that did interest me was Stradbroke winner Under The Louvre at the each-way price, but the stable has indicated they will scratch. It leaves me looking at Bon Aurum off the last start win what do you think about his chances?

JH: Under The Louvre looked an each-way 1 x 3 MORAL to me so that news is disappointing. Bon Aurum is certainly the one on the rise after an impressive win at Flemington. He’s certainly being well respected in the market but I think that speaks to how good he looked a fortnight ago. Winning form and no issues running a strong 1400m either. I also want to make mention quickly of Mr Individual who is the fit horse who can either lead or sit just off speed and can give some cheek I think. His run at Moonee Valley three weeks ago was the run of the day for mine and if he is still at that level he looks a great place chance at odds here.

MT: You make a good case for Mr Individual but I’ll be sticking with Bon Aurum to continue on his winning way. How will you attack the race Jake?

JH: Hoping I can get $7 for Bon Aurum and I might bite, he’s just a bit short right now. Besides that it is a place bet on Mr Individual for me. The pattern of the track by that stage of the day will determine size of bets and confidence!