Rob Heathcote’s special little filly Startantes...
Tony McEvoy’s Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas favourite Royal Symphony won’t have an unusual lead-up into the mile classic via a run against the older horses this Sunday in Caulfield’s 2017 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes despite being nominated for the event.
Run as one of six elite levels across a bumper weekend of racing in Sydney and Melbourne, this season’s Group 1 $500,000 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) takes place on the same day as the NRL Grand Final as part of Underwood Stakes Day.
The Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes nominations for 2017 drew 24 early entries and the sole three-year-old in the mix is undefeated Domesday colt Royal Symphony.
After posting his fourth career win in Flemington’s Listed Exford Plate (1400m) on September 16, Royal Symphony firmed in clear $3 futures favouritism for the Group 1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas (1600m) over the mile on October 14.
He won’t be tested against an open-age field of rivals leading-up to that however, despite McEvoy nominating the youngster for the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, which hasn’t been won by a three-year-old since Exceed And Excel (2003).
Instead it has been confirmed that Royal Symphony will be kept to his own kind in the Group 3 $175,000 Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) at the same meeting.
The other standout Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes nominee this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival coming off a string of four straight victories is Bons Away, prepared by Ciaron Maher who will begin his lengthy suspension on Monday.
Last year’s Caulfield Cup winning horseman Maher has copped a six month suspension and $75,000 fine after pleading guilty to his part in the Peter Foster ownership fiasco.
Prior to his official suspension he nominated Bons Away for Sunday’s Group 1, the flying Bon Hoffa four-year-old having won the Listed Testa Rossa Stakes (1200m) in an upset over The Everest-bound Brave Smash at Caulfield last Saturday.
Maher won last year’s Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes with Bon Aurum (2016) and could get a final shot at Group 1 glory before his suspension with Bons Away this weekend.
If successful he will be the second back-to-back Sir Rupert Clarke winning horseman in four years joining Darren Weir who won in 2014 and 2015 with Trust In A Gust and Stratum Star respectively.
Weir is in the mix again this spring with four Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes nominees: El Divino, Lucky Hussler, Tosen Stardom and Voodoo Lad.
Former Japanese-trained stallion Tosen Stardom caught the eye last time out running under two lengths third to Vega Magic in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) on September 2, while Voodoo Lad is a genuine Caulfield track specialist (4-3-1-0).
Other notable entries include the returning PB Lawrence Stakes runner-up to Hartnell from August 19 Charmed Harmony, Godolphin’s reigning Doncaster Mile winner It’s Somewhat and Perth Group 1 winner Scales Of Justice who was the Bobbie Lewis runner-up to Redkirk Warrior at Flemington a fortnight back.
2017 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes Nominations
Caulfield Racecourse – 01/10/2017
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp. Rating|
|1||x5240x48x5||ATTENTION||H||4||Peter & Paul Snowden||90|
|2||157×321111||BONS AWAY||G||4||Ciaron Maher||98|
|3||x151611125||CANNYESCENT||G||5||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||96|
|4||9x60229x42||CHARMED HARMONY||G||8||John Sadler||101|
|5||7x2504x527||EL DIVINO||H||4||Darren Weir||91|
|6||7121175×31||GRANDE ROSSO||G||6||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||103|
|7||x073397x00||GREAT ESTEEM||G||7||Stuart Webb||94|
|8||4313x1119x||IT’S SOMEWHAT (USA)||G||7||James Cummings||114|
|9||29x3380x53||LAND OF PLENTY||H||4||Grahame Begg||80|
|10||x791x705x6||LUCKY HUSSLER||G||8||Darren Weir||111|
|12||2413311×12||MR SNEAKY||G||4||Anthony Freedman||90|
|13||111×1||ROYAL SYMPHONY||C||3||Tony McEvoy||85|
|14||24x1401x56||ROYAL TUDOR||G||5||Rodney Ollerton||90|
|15||7x49155x34||SANTA ANA LANE||G||5||Anthony Freedman||96|
|16||x6321220x0||SAVILE ROW (NZ)||H||4||Michael Moroney||98|
|17||1112x211x2||SCALES OF JUSTICE||G||5||Lindsey Smith||110|
|18||114173×546||SNITZSON||H||4||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||94|
|19||x4030x2283||SO SI BON||H||4||Robbie Laing||95|
|20||23276×1531||SOVEREIGN NATION||G||5||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||97|
|22||09x4x22x53||TOSEN STARDOM (JPN)||H||7||Darren Weir||109|
|23||210x257x14||VOODOO LAD||G||6||Darren Weir||108|
|24||353510×682||WYNDSPELLE (NZ)||H||4||Michael Kent||84|
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