Hall of Fame hoop Damien Oliver will shoot for his incredible seventh victory in Victoria’s only 1400m Group 1 handicap when they partner with 58kg topweight Glass Harmonium in the 2012 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield Racecourse this Sunday.
Michael Moroney’s Group 1 winning import Glass Harmonium is one of 15 smart gallopers engaged for this year’s edition of the $400,000 Group 1 Clamms Seafood Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m), and while history is against them with their hefty weight allocation, they will have one of the race’s most successful jockeys in the saddle aiding their cause.
Oliver won his first Sir Rupert, and his maiden Group 1 title, back in 1990 with the Bart Cummings-trained Submariner as an 18-year-old and has since gone on to take it out five more times with Mannerism (1992), Poetic King (1994), Testa Rossa (1999), Mr Murphy (2001) and Orange County (2008).
“It was my first Group 1 win, I rode one for Bart called Submariner at 49 kilos, so it will always hold a special place in my heart,” Oliver said.
“I’ve won it six times all up, so that’s certainly something that I remember, that I’ve got a good record in it, and it has been a lucky race for us.”
Last year’s Makcinnon Stakes champ Glass Harmonium could be their seventh when they kick off their 2012 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival campaign in the Sir Rupert, the Verglas seven-year-old last seen finishing a below par seventh to Manighar in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 10.
While their first-up record is only fair (8-1-2-0), Oliver is still looking forward to reuniting with the gallant grey who will need to work on his notoriously tardy starts to be competitive on Sunday.
“It’s a tricky sort of start, the Caulfield 1400,” Oliver explained.
“You need to get a good position and you just need the right kind of horse that can take up a good position and has a good bit of acceleration as well.”
Over the past 20 years only three horses have carried more than 55.5kg to victory in the Sir Rupert with last year’s winner Toorak Toff (56.5kg), Cut Up Rough (57kg, 1997) and Testa Rossa (58.5kg, 2000).
With 58kg Glass Harmonium will be out to buck that trend along with Peter Snowden’s in-form veteran Pinwheel with 57.5kg.
While the weight may not be on their side it certainly doesn’t hurt Glass Harmonium’s chances having Oliver in the saddle.
In the latest Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes odds at bookmaker.com.au Glass Harmonium is rated a $21 chance with markets led by Peter Moody’s progressive four-year-old Moment Of Change ($4).
Their double figure price certainly isn’t disastrous looking back over the recent Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes betting history with four double-figure chances taking out the classic over the past 11 years including Toorak Toff ($11) last year.
The other Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes hopeful in 2012 to be ridden by the race’s other most successful jockey is then Colin & Cindy Alderson’s Snippetson four-year-old That’s The One who will have Craig Williams in the saddle.
Williams has won four of the past seven editions of the race including the past two with Toorak Toff last year and Response (2010).
An $11 chance and the early market mover in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes odds at bookmaker.com.au, That’s The One will also jump from last year’s winning barrier (7) making them a nice bet for the superstitious punter.
To get behind Glass Harmonium or one of their classy rivals this Sunday make sure you head along to bookmaker.com.au who have the hottest range of Fixed Win odds on all the spring majors!