Centennial Park Chasing First Group 1 – 2012 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes

Sydney gelding Centennial Park heads to Melbourne this week to attempt to score his first ever Group 1 victory in the 2012 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.

The seven-year-old has placed once in the top grade, a second in the 2011 Chipping Norton Stakes, but has been unsuccessful in nine other Group 1 starts.

He’s won once at Group 2 level and also once at Group 3 level and has shown reasonable form so far this spring.

The David Payne-trained gelding kicked off his spring with a runner-up finish in the Missile Stakes and has since finished fifth in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes and fourth in the Theo Marks Sprint.

The only blemish so far this spring was in the Chelmsford Stakes when he finished seventh and five lengths behind winner Danleigh.

Payne is confident he can give account of himself this weekend and highlighted the fact he will carry just 52.5kg as a major advantage.

“It’s a nice race for him because of the weight advantage, and it’s his best distance, so he will be competitive,” Payne said.

“He doesn’t really get 1500 or 1600 metres, he’s really a 1400 metre horse and being a handicap, he comes in quite well.”

A winner of seven of 42 starts and over $850,000 in prizemoney, Centennial Park is one of 15 horses set to contest the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes.

Also included are consistent Darley gelding Pinwheel, Bobbie Lewis winner We’re Gonna Rock, Lawrence Stakes winner Second Effort, Peter Moody-trained four-year-old Moment Of Change, Australian Guineas runner-up Strike The Stars and in-form Queensland gelding Solzhenitsyn.

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“He doesn’t really get 1500 or 1600 metres, he’s really a 1400 metre horse and being a handicap, he comes in quite well