After winning the handicap clash last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival the Wangoom-based trainer Darren Weir will saddle-up the top weight Lucky Hussler in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes 2015 in Melbourne this weekend.
Twelve months ago Weir prepared Trust In A Gust (2014) to win the $400,000 Group 1 Anthea Crawford Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) and this year his chance at back-to-back victories lies in Husson six-year-old Lucky Hussler.
The gelding is second-up for the season after a brave fourth at Flemington a fortnight ago in the Group 2 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) when beaten just over a length by the lightly-weighted winner Churchill Dancer (53kg).
Lucky Hussler, winner of the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley back in March, meanwhile had a hefty 59kg on his back with Glen Boss riding.
On Saturday Boss will shoot for his second Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes win following his success aboard Rebel Dane (2013), staying on Lucky Hussler who drops a kilo to 58kg and is drawn a treat in barrier two.
This year’s Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes runs as Caulfield Race 8 at 4:45pm (AEST) on Saturday and is at capacity with 18 starters plus four emergencies.
Following Lucky Hussler in the weights is the Gai Waterhouse-trained Cosmic Endeavour (56.5kg) who is looking to hand her trainer with her maiden win in the race and become the first mare since Response (2010) to take it out.
The dual Group 1 winning Northern Meteor five-year-old hasn’t won a race since the Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick back in early March and comes off a fifth when beaten only half a length by Amicus in the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) a fortnight ago at Flemington.
There is then three 56kg chances in the mix with the rails-drawn Amorino for Ballarat trainer Archie Alexander, the Team Hawkes-trained son of Zabeel Leebaz out wide in gate 15 and Chris Waller’s Redoute’s Choice seven-year-old Strawberry Boy.
Second-up on the weekend, Strawberry Boy carried 58kg last time out at Rosehill on September 12 when crossing only 0.6 lengths off stablemate Winx in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m).
He has drawn awkwardly on the weekend in barrier 17 that will at best become 14 if the emergencies don’t get a run.
Two of the past four Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes winners jumped from double digit gates with Moment Of Change (15 in 2012) and Rebel Dane (14 in 2013).
Also drawn wide this spring in the feature are the likes of last year’s Caulfield Guineas runner-up Rich Enuff in the outside alley for jockey James McDonald to overcome, Peter Moody’s last start winning Kiwi expat Abidewithme (20), the Darren Weir-trained Stratum Star (18) who ran third in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at the same track and distance as Saturday in late August, and Waller’s other runner Amicus (16).
Craig Newitt rides four-year-old Fastnet Rock mare Amicus who comes off back-to-back victories most recently in the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m).
She has a good Caulfield track record and has run second in both her previous 1400m runs here.
Other notable Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes hopefuls this season include Theo Marks Stakes third placegetter Ninth Legion, Robert Smerdon’s Group 1 performed backmarker Under The Louvre who will run well from gate six, the flying Charmed Harmony shooting for a fifth consecutive win in Melbourne and Disposition who won over third distance at Flemington last start.
See below for the full Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes 2015 field, barriers, jockeys and weights then head to Ladbrokes.com.au to open an account quoting the code SPRINGBONUS to receive up to $700 in bonus bets on the house for a short time only!
2015 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Caulfield Race 8 (4:45pm) – 26/09/2015
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||2212x167x4||LUCKY HUSSLER||Darren Weir||Glen Boss||2||58kg||109|
|2||x421005x75||COSMIC ENDEAVOUR||Gai Waterhouse||Kerrin McEvoy||10||56.5kg||110|
|3||76031171×5||AMORINO||Archie Alexander||Chris Parnham||1||56kg||105|
|4||4x630210x0||LEEBAZ (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||James Winks||15||56kg||105|
|5||332x5611x4||STRAWBERRY BOY||Chris Waller||Jim Cassidy||17||56kg||105|
|6||4x127202x3||NINTH LEGION||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||12||55.5kg||104|
|7||3x11127x26||RICH ENUFF||Ken Keys||James McDonald||22||55.5kg||104|
|8||12x2123x52||UNDER THE LOUVRE||Robert Smerdon||Mark Zahra||6||55.5kg||104|
|9||1x94460x11||AMICUS||Chris Waller||Craig Newitt||16||54.5kg||106|
|10||x810231111||CHARMED HARMONY||John Sadler||Ben Melham||9||54.5kg||102|
|11||22x2332x73||STRATUM STAR||Darren Weir||Craig Williams||18||54.5kg||102|
|12||11122x24x1||DISPOSITION||Lee & Anthony Freedman||Damien Oliver||3||54kg||101|
|13||x334645x55||FAST ’N’ ROCKING||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||5||54kg||101|
|14||014x12358x||HOPFGARTEN||Robert Heathcote||Glen Colless||14||54kg||101|
|15||50x2326x73||GREGERS||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Damian Lane||11||53kg||103|
|16||24004361×1||ABIDEWITHME (NZ)||Peter G Moody||Patrick Moloney (a)||20||52kg||99|
|17||620x565x89||BULL POINT||Tony McEvoy||Michael Dee (a)||7||52kg||97|
|18||123x00x0x0||WE’RE GONNA ROCK||Tony Romeo||Dean Holland||19||52kg||97|
|19e||11x290x389||PETROLOGY||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Jye McNeil (a)||13||52kg||95|
|21e||6x12971x38||YESTERDAY’S SONGS||Michael Moroney||Daniel Moor||4||52kg||92|
|22e||6211375×17||WORTHY CAUSE||John Zielke||Luke Tarrant (a)||21||52kg||89|