Race 7 at Caulfield on Saturday sees the 2022 running of the Sir Rupert Clarke stakes, a 1400m Group one race that throws up some amazing historical precedents which no other race in Australia can match.
For that reason it is my favourite race of the spring. It has been quite easy to predict in recent and certainly challenges the Stradbroke Handicap in Brisbane as the premier 1400 metre handicap race in the country.
YEAR HORSE JOCKEY BR SP WT Age/Sex Form, Weight Drop, Stage of Preparation
2021 SIRRA SUE (10) $11 52.5kg 7th Memsie Stakes WFA Eighth up.
2020 BEHEMOTH (5) $3.80 60kg 5G 1st Memsie Stakes WFA. Third up.
2019 BEGOOD TO YA MOTHER (3) $3 52kg -7kg 5G 6th Memsie Stakes 1400m WFA (2.9L) Third up.
2018 JUNGLE CAT J.DOYLE (5) $13 58kg +1kg 6h- 1st Dubai 1200m G1 First up.
2017 SANTA ANA LANE D.YENDALL (6) $26 52kg- 5g- 4th (1L) M/Valley 1200m Open Listed (-3.5) Third up.
2016 BON AURUM K. McEVOY (5) $4.50 52kg- 4H- 1st Flemington Sofitel 1400m (Open) (-2) Third up.
2015 STRATUM STAR C.WILLIAMS 15 $8.50 54.5kg 4H- 3rd Memsie Stakes Caulf WFA (-4) Third up.
2014 TRUST IN A GUST D. LANE 9 52 $6 4H- 1st Le Pine Funeral Stakes Caul (-3.5) Fourth up.
2013 REBEL DANE G.BOSS 14 $5.50 55.5 4H- 4th Bobbie Lewis (-2) Third up
2012 MOMENT OF CHANGE L.NOLAN 15 $4.50 52.5 – 4G 3rd Tramway Handicap (-1.5) Third up.
2011 TOORAK TOFF C,WILLIAMS 5 $12 56.5 4H 5th Bobbie Lewis (-0.5) Second Up.
2010 RESPONSE C.WILLIAMS 5 $4.75 53.5 4M 2nd Cockram – 2nd Lets Elope (-2) Third up
2009 TURFFONTEIN G.BOSS 11 $15 55.5 5H 7th Premiere Stk-5th Bobbie Lewis ( +0.5) Third up.
2008 ORANGE COUNTY D.OLIVER 15 $9 54 6G 4th McEwen Stk-3rd Bobbie Lewis (-2) Third up.
2007 BON HOFFA V.DURIC 3 $3.80f 53 5H 1st Caul 1200m Hcp-1st Bobbie Lewis (0) Third up.
2006 REWAAYA C.WILLIAMS 1 $3.70 51 4M 14th Cockram Stk-1st Lets Elope Stk (-2) Third up.
2005 BARELY A MOMENT C.WILLIAMS 8 $8 52 4H 8th MV 1200m 1MW-LY-2nd Memsie Stk (-5.5) Third up.
2004 REGAL ROLLER M.FLAHERTY 11 $4.60 55.5 5G 4th Bletchingly Stk-1st Liston Stk-1st Memsie Stk (-2.5) Fourth up.
2003 EXCEED AND EXCEL C.BROWN 5 $7 52.5 3C 6th San Domenico-1st Up & Coming Stk-1st Roman Consul (-4) Fourth up.
2002 PERNOD K.MCEVOY 15 $12 53.5 5M 1st Cockram Stk
2001 MR. MURPHY D.OLIVER 13 $11 54.5 4H 9th Caul 1200m Hcp
2000 TESTA ROSSA B.PREBBLE 9 7-2f 58.5 4H 1st McEwen Trpy
1999 TESTA ROSSA D.OLIVER 12 5 54.5 3C 1st San Domenico-1st Up & Coming Stk-2nd Ascot Vale Stk
1998 LORD LUSKIN S.BASTER 8 33 51 6G 3rd VRC Winter Final-4th Sand 1000m Hcp-13th Bobbie Lewis
1997 CUT UP ROUGH S.KING 15 12 57 7G 3rd Manikato Stks-3rd Bobbie Lewis
1996 ENCOSTA DE LAGO S.KING 18 4 50 3C 5th MV McKenzie Stks-1st Ascot Vale Stk
1995 OUR MAIZCAY B.YORK 2 1-1f 52.5 3C 1st Up & Coming Stk-1st Roman Consul-1st Ascot Vale Stk
1994 POETIC KING D.OLIVER 2 2f 55.5 4G 1st Bletchingly Stks-3rd Bobbie Lewis
1993 BLACK ROUGE N.WILSON 8 16 52.5 5G 8th MV 1200m Hcp-4th Manikato Stk-4th Memsie Stk
1992 MANNERISM D.OLIVER 11 11-4f 56 5M 1st Let’s Elope Stk
1991 ST. JUDE B.YORK 4 9-2f 57 4H 4th Bobbie Lewis
1990 SUBMARINER D.OLIVER 4 8 49 4H 6th Caul 1200m Hcp
IN THE LAST 29 YEARS:
AGE / SEX
3C – 4 WINNERS
4G – 2 WINNER
4H – 10 WINNERS
4M – 2 WINNER
5G – 5 WINNERS
5H – 2 WINNERS
5M – 3 WINNERS
6H -1 WINNER
6G – 2 WINNERS
7G – 1 WINNER
(1-5) 13 WINS
(6-10) 7 WINS
(11-15) 11 WINS
(16+) 1 WIN
13 last start winners have won
8 horses were placed at their last run
9 horses unplaced (inc 4 x 4th, 5th & 6th)
I’m utilising 32 years of data ,and remarkably 17 winners in that period have been Entires (a horse or colt, not a gelding). That factor alone accounts for over 50% per cent of winners, and over 60% of those (10) have been four years of age. There have been four 3yo Colts, and two 5yo Entires also win in this period. In the 2014 years edtion of this race there were six entires engaged, who astonishingly finished in the first eight placings.
The other factor that has played a major factor in the outcome of the race is the leadup. The most prolific has clearly been the Bobbie Lewis Quality run down the straight at Flemington, two weeks prior). It has provided nine of the past 29 winners, including five of the last nine but none of the last 4 winners came out of that race, and a change of programming appears to now make that race far less of an influence. It is now run a week before this race rather than two and three weeks prior, as was the case.
Interestingly only one of those actually won the Bobbie Lewis (Bon Hoffa in 2007), though all bar one horse that has come out of that race (to win this), has finished in the first five placings. Four of the last five Bobbie Lewis representatives that went on to win this have been Entires, and three of those have been four year olds.
Mares do have an average record in the race with only five winners in the past 32 years, and none have come out of the Bobbie Lewis. Three of the four female winners came via the Let’s Elope Stakes.
Barriers have played little consequence in the outcome of this race so I think it is best not to be put off by wider draws. Stratum Star in 2015 (Barrier 15), Rebel Dane in 2013 (Barrier 14), and Moment Of Change in 2012 (barrier 15) are strong recent examples suggesting that if the horse is good enough it can still win from a poor draw. And barriers 11-15 have a better record than the inside barriers of 1-5. Barrier 15 has won four of the last seventeen editions and two of the last seven..Barrier 5 has had 7 winners in the period 1999-2020. Only 7 of the past 23 winners have drawn inside barrier 5 and only 2 of the past 17 have done so.
The weight range 49kg-55.5kg has provided 25 of the past 32 winners which might once again help us whittle down the chances this year.
Jockey Craig Williams knows what it takes to win the race having been successful on six of the past 17 occasions (oddly all have been 4yo’s), and Damien Oliver has won the race six times since 1990. Those two have now won it a combined 11 times in the past 28 years. That is a rarity in any horse race.
10 of the last 21 winners have been four year olds, as have 7 of the last 11.
25 of the last 30 winners finished in the first 5 placings last start. Sierra Sue last year came off a seventh placing but she was unlucky not to win that race.
19 of the last 20 winners have started at $15 or less
14 of the last 21 winners have been third up into their preparation. Four have been fourth up and one has been second up, and one has been first up.
3 of the last 7 winners have come out of the Memsie Stakes.
Former winners of this race have sired 2 of the past 10 winners. Bon Hoffa (Bon Aurum), and Barely A Moment (Moment Of Change),
The ideal candidate to win this race would have the following criteria;
- Aged 5 years or less
- Be a Colt or Horse (Entire)
- Have finished with a win or placing last start, or finished fourth or fifth less than 2L from the winner.
- Preferably coming into the race third up
- Dropping in weight from last start.
- Preferably be drawn outside barrier 4
- Be at starting odds of $15 or less.
Buffalo River, Callsign Mav and Tuvalu look the likely pace in the race with the latter horse actually having drawn best in barrier 11 (after emergency scratchings). Red Can Man is probably the next fastest horse but he too has drawn poorly. Just Folk can be forward in the run which probably leaves him and Ayrton as the horses most likely to get ‘gun’ runs, most suited to the track and race. Aysar should be just behind that pair but could also get a similar run. It might take an exceptional horse to win from midfield and back, but at least all of the leaders are drawn out a bit which could influence the tempo of the race.
DALASAN- Resumed with a decent win in Adelaide but the form out of that race wasn’t really franked in the Balaklava Cup on Wednesday. His form at this track is not great and he has the job ahead with the weight he has to carry. Having said that he is a Stallion which augurs well and this isn’t the strongest edition of this race. He is a WFA class galloper and there aren’t too many of them down in the weights in this race, unless Dragon Leap gains a run.
LAWS OF INDICES– Hasn’t won for 14 months which was a victory in France. His best run here might have been his first one. He hasn’t won in eight starts here, and although it’s hard to say he can’t win I’m struggling to find positives and personally can’t see why it should get a run. Enough said!
SINAWANN– Another former import who has won a Group 3 race here and finished second at Group 2 level. I’m not sure that makes him overly well weighted in a G1 handicap race though. He has drawn well and has 4/4 placings from barriers 1-3. Not having run for a month is probably a negative, and I think he was slightly injured last start. All his career wins are second up and that is the case here. His 6yo stallion status also stands him in good stead historically.
CALLSIGN MAV– Likely leader and comes out of the right race. He was a bit disappointing there though given the speed map and he is yet to prove he is up to Group 1 level here. Therefore I don’t seem him as well weighted with 57.5kg. He might have to work a little to cross from that barrier too. This is his pet distance and he handles any conditions.
I AM SUPERMAN– 0/6 at Group 1 level so I have my doubts about him here. The positives are he does have a good second up record, he has won here, and he probably needs to be kept fresh which is the case here. The barrier looks a real issue for him though and I can’t have him winning this with 57.5kg.
JUST FOLK– He was outpointed by Dalasan last start in Adelaide and is another that might just be found wanting at G1 level (0/3 thus far). I thought his run was quite good last start when he was fighting back at the death and he does have some positives here. He is 3/4 third up and 4/8 with 3-4 weeks between runs. And the wetter the better for him with his 3/4 record on Heavy tracks. The track was probably not wet enough last start. He has drawn well and his racing pattern should be suited to Caulfield and a race like this. Blinkers are going on first time and he is really worth some serious thought here in a sub standard Group 1 (if the emergencies don’t get a run). I think he is twice the price he should be at an early $41 quote.
GRACEFUL GIRL– She ran okay last week but was beaten home by Red Can Man who just isn’t in the same league over in WA. All bar one of her wins are at 1200m although she does have a decisive win on her resume at 1400m (1/1). She doesn’t have any weight relief to get her back to top form so I can’t quite have her in this. Not sure barrier 1 is any help to her either. Class mare but seems well short of her WA form.
AYRTON- Well he is the statistical selection in this with his 4/4 first up record and 4/4 record here. He is 6-2/8 from barriers 1-3 so the inside barrier he has drawn here looks a positive. I thought his run in the Stradbroke last start was poor, even though he was wide. Perhaps the month between runs did him no favours that day. A wet track is an unknown but a very wet track is know with him, and I wouldn’t be backing him if a lot of rain comes. I’d like to see him with a bit less weight but this isn’t a vintage edition and those stats of his can’t be ignored. Looks one of the better chances.
HILAL– His WFA form coming in looks enticing but gee he was quite poor last start getting a soft lead and not really producing in the straight. He is 0-3/6 at G1 level and the outside barrier looks a nightmare for him. Hasn’t won for nearly a year but here he is with 56.5kg. I just don’t see him as well weighted at all, His 4yo Stallion profile looks his biggest asset here relative to this race.
SHOWMANSHIP– Really good WA galloper who has won eight from ten so has to be respected on that factor alone. He is 1/1 here and is 4/4 at the distance. That is similar stuff to Ayrton but he has the advantage of one run back this preparation. I suppose the downside is he hasn’t beaten much and here he is with 56.5kg! Damien Oliver and a middle barrier look positives. I think if you look at his two Melbourne wins and his last start in Sydney ,you can see he is a better quality horse than his actual form (what he has beaten) shows. Looking at the race shape of all of those he wasn’t really entitled to win any of them. But he is a horse that knows how to win and finds a way. He looks at least a top three chance here to me, although I’d like to see him with a kilo or so less. I think he has a bit more tenacity than Ayrton. Historically a win would be an anamoly as a 7yo gelding
RED CAN MAN– Yet another horse who just seems to find Group 1 races a bit beyond him and barrier 17 is going to be an issue. It’s quite noticeable he isn’t a great weight carrier (3/22 with 57kg or more) so his 56 kg here looks a bonus. This is probably his best distance but he needs it dry which might not eventuate. Hard to see him winning yet alone running a place from that marble.
BUFFALO RIVER– Hasn’t won for nearly a year and has won one of his last nineteen starts. This is his distance, track and he likes the wet. But all those things were common last time and he was beaten nearly 8 lengths. He shouldn’t be keeping more exciting horses out of the race with his inclusion.
AYSAR- He doesn’t look the roughest here back in form with Craig Williams aboard, drawn well enough and stallion status. Blinkers went back on also last start and he finally produced what he was capable of. This horse has been a total enigma since running a close second in the Caulfield Guineas as a three year old. The question is can he reproduce the same form of last start and even improve enough to win this? None of his wins are with less than 23 days between runs so the 14 days here could be looked upon as a negative. Nevertheless he looks good historically, handles the wet, and is way over the odds.
BANKERS CHOICE– He was average first up and notably is 3/3 on good tracks. Soft tracks definitely aren’t his forte and that might be the conditions underfoot in this race. The barrier is horrible for him and heaven knows where he gets to in the run being a midfield (at best) type of horse. He does look quite well served at the weights actually meeting the topweight 4kg better for a length and a half defeat the last time they met at WFA. In the right stable for an upset but everything would have to go right.
TUVALU– He is a surprise edition to this race but probably has the most upside of any runner. His form through I’m Thunderstruck has always looked promising and I’m not sure we have seen the best of him yet. He was very good last start in the Winter Championship final and he might actually be a superior horse on wet tracks. He has won his last three starts on wet tracks and been beaten his last two on dry tracks. On his earlier form he was 3-4 lengths inferior to I’m Thunderstruck but that is probably good enough to see him go close here. He is 7-4/11 in his career which is only surpassed by Showmanship in this race. The negative is the preparation just isn’t right to win this race. But on the plus side he probably is weighted to win. Very hard to beat if he brings his A-game and his on pace ability is an asset for this race and track,
CHAILLOT- Good mare who did have a fine first up record before her last preparation where she blotted her copybook. One year since she won a race and my thinking is she isn’t quite good enough to win at this level. A host of gear changes and last years winning jockey aboard add some confidence and I guess if she was going to win a very good race it would most probably have to be fresh. History says no in that regard.
DRAGON LEAP– He has the good Memsie WFA run on his resume beaten 3.5L by I’m Thunderstruck in that race. That puts him in a similar category to Tuvalu and he has had a better preparation coming in. His barrier is awkward though, and he doesn’t want the track too wet. Obviously weighted to win dropping 5kg from a WFA race and he should have got a run. Perhaps he would need more than 1400m to actually win but he would be a live chance if he gains a start.
I WISH I WIN– He couldn’t have been more impressive winning on debut here and I can’t remember an NZ horse ever winning that easily at it’s first go with the possible exception of Sunline. The time basically mirrored that of the Memsie albeit he did only have 54kg. Perhaps beware all of his wins are first up and he is yet to win second up. That is of some concern but he had plenty in hand first up and is in a new (Australian) stable. Hoping he does get a run but it seems unlikely. A travesty really!
It’s an odd race this year with those two excellent chances not likely to get a run. How bad is it that the nominal favourite for the race isn’t going around? Anyhow enough of that and I’ve settled on this first 4. It’s hard to go past the outstanding strike rates of the first trio;
- SHOWMANSHIP- I think the $9 is probably value given his one run back and career strike rate. My second and third selections might have more raw ability but he knows how to win when the chips are down whereas I’m not sure that’s the case with the other pairing.
- Just Folk- Best roughie along with Aysar. i like his stats better than that horse though.
If either of the emergencies do get a run then the complexion of the race does change a little. I would have I Wish I Win on top in all likelihood.