Ladbrokes Blog: 2023 Sir Rupert Clake Stakes Preview

The Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes makes up part of the Group 1 double on offer this Saturday at Caulfield.

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Grahame Begg's mare Magic Time has been installed at short odds coming off a last-start effort for third in The Invitation at Randwick, while Manikato Stakes runner-up I Am Me can be found on the second line of betting.

Strait Acer is likely to draw interest coming off a solid run in the Golden Eagle two weeks ago, and there's also a case to be made for Mark Walker's Group 1-winning mare, Skew Wiff. 

It's shaping as one of the most wide-open races on the program, and you can find our thoughts on every runner in the 2023 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes here.

1. Vilana (1) 

It's been a while since Vilana last won a race, but he has appeared close in recent efforts against weaker company.

The Hallowed Crown entire finished midfield at Flemington in a Group 2 on Derby Day, caught four-wide at the turn and holding good ground with a wall of horses charging the line hard. 

He's never raced at Caulfield, but he should be better for the run and strip fitter now with a couple of starts under his belt. From the inside gate, don't be surprised if he gets in behind the speed now that Damien Oliver has a feel for him. 

BET NOW: Vilana

2. I Am Me (10) 

She's been up for a while, but I Am Me should give this a real shake if her recent form is anything to go by. 

The I Am Invincible mare finished in front of Airman and Bella Nipotina in the Sydney Stakes two back, a likeable form line with the latter going on to win her next start at Rosehill before a solid effort in the Champions Sprint last week. 

That last time we saw the Maher and Eustace five-year-old was in the Manikato on Cox Plate Day where she lost no admirers finishing a distant second to Imperatriz, who just won the previously mentioned Sprint race. 

The wide gate and the rise to 1400m are genuine queries, but I can't write her off. 

BET NOW: I Am Me

3. Strait Acer (4) 

Impressive type that has simply found one or two better of late. 

Edward Cummings' gelding put together a hat-trick of wins at Randwick when taking out a BM88 earlier in the spring, stepping up a level a month later in the Silver Eagle where he fought out the finish for second.

His effort two weeks ago in the Golden Eagle was just as solid, caught wide in the early stages but timing his run well to grab fourth in the end. 

The step back from 1500m should be in his wheelhouse, especially with Mark Zahra stepping into the irons this time. 

BET NOW: Strait Acer

4. Bandersnatch (3) 

Tough horse to get a feel for right now. 

He was only plain in weaker grade at Rosehill last month, but then reminded everyone of his talent finishing second to Cause For Concern over 1400m at Flemington on Derby Day. 

Jordy Childs knows him quite well, so that's a plus. Based on his record here at Caulfield though (4:0-1-0), I don't think he can win. 

BET NOW: Bandersnatch

5. Skew Wiff (12) 

Kiwi mare that saluted at a nice price for punters when winning the Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes on Cup Day last week. 

The Group 1 winner enjoyed a perfect run in transit under Opie Bosson, charging the line down the outside where she looked to have something left to give in the end. 

Craig Williams takes over from another difficult gate, but if she gets some luck in running and saves something for late, she could go on with the job at a nice quote. 

BET NOW: Skew Wiff

6. The Inferno (7)

It's been well over two years since The Inferno tasted a win, but to his credit, he has been around the mark of late in tougher races than this. 

The old boy has finished fourth behind Imperatriz in the Moir and Mankato Stakes leading in, over-racing a little in the early stages last time out where he was also unlucky to cop some interference in the run home. 

Given his record, I can't entertain him for a win, but he does warrant consideration for a top five spot. 

BET NOW: The Inferno

7. Ayrton (6) 

Ayrton finally returned to the winner's stall last month with a narrow win over the track and distance in a Stakes race. 

He had excuses from an awful gate two Saturday's ago in The Damien Oliver at Flemington, but I thought he made up some decent ground in the run home to finish 1.4 lengths off Cause For Concern. 

The Mick Price and Michael Kent Jr trained six-year-old is a perfect 5-0 here at Caulfield, while he's also excelled over this trip in the past. 

Fitter third-up from a better gate, he ticks a few important boxes. 

BET NOW: Ayrton

8. Zoutori (2) 

Zoutori is six weeks between runs coming off a midfield finish in the Gilgai Stakes last month. 

The old veteran has mixed his form at Caulfield during his career but does draw to do no work from barrier 2. 

He's had a nice soft trial to get him ready, but as the price suggests, I doubt he threatens. 

BET NOW: Zoutori

9. Buffalo River (19) 

The fan favourite is back in form with two wins from his last three starts. 

Like we've seen on several occasions, Michael Moroney's nine-year-old recorded a strong on-pace victory to claim the Moonga Stakes over the track and trip a few weeks ago, but this is obviously a much tougher assignment up to Group 1 grade. 

From the wide gate, he should cross and lead, but I doubt he has the legs to see off the favourites in the end.

BET NOW: Buffalo River

10. Chain Of Lightning (11) 

Her best is certainly good enough, but it's been a while since we've seen it. 

It's gone on a year since Peter Moody's mare last won a race, although she did go close in the Schillaci Stakes two back, timing her run well to grab third after settling off the speed.

She made up late ground again on Derby Day to finish a length off Spacewalk and should be set to peak now third up. It's a shame about the gate, but a place is still within her grasp. 

BET NOW: Chain Of Lightning

11. Magic Time (15) 

It's tough to find fault with a mare that has put together four wins and a couple of placings from seven starts. 

The daughter of Hellbent was the beaten favourite in The Invitation three weeks ago at Randwick, driving through the middle after racing wide to grab third.

The winner Espiona has since gone on to run well in the Champions Sprint at Flemington last week, but she'll need luck on her side from another difficult alley.

BET NOW: Magic Time

12. Munhamek (18) 

Could be the one to watch in his 51st race start. 

The old boy out of Nick Ryan's yard was enormous on return at Flemington in the Damien Oliver, given a patient ride off the speed under Blake Shinn where he was unlucky not to find clear running earlier down the straight. 

Luke Currie has a similar job ahead of him from barrier 18, but there's a lot to like about his second-up record and the fact five of his nine wins have come over 1400m. 

If things go his way, the current price might be unders. 

BET NOW: Munhamek

13. Cause For Concern (8) 

Impressive winner of The Damien Oliver over the same trip at Flemington two weeks ago.

Despite being caught three-wide, Jamie Kah rode him beautifully that day, slicing their way through traffic to get up and score right on the line. 

His run over the track and trip the start prior was similar, caught wide before coming on late to run third behind Buffalo River. 

It's tough to know what he's got left in the tank – especially heading into a tougher contest – but down in the weights, he could give this a shake. 

BET NOW: Cause For Concern

14. General Beau (16)

Finally back in the winner's stall last week with a strong win in a Stakes race down the straight at Headquarters. 

Matthew Ellerton's five-year-old charged the line nicely down the centre of the straight, beating home a couple of smart horses in Parisal and It'sourtime in the process. 

Caulfield has been a happy hunting ground for him in the past, while he also gets some relief at the weights under Linda Meech. 

BET NOW: General Beau

15. Crosshaven (5) 

It's close to a year since the son of Smart Missile last won a race, but he could be going close on Saturday if his effort in the Rising Fast a couple of weeks ago was anything to go by. 

The Lindsay Park-trained six-year-old probably would have beaten Spacewalk if he was afforded another 50m, storming the line late along the inside in his first run back. 

Second-up, his record reads quite well with a pair of wins to his name, while he's also saved his best for Caulfield in the past. 

With 4kgs off and Daniel Stackhouse steering again, I think he'll see out 1400m in his stride.

BET NOW: Crosshaven

16. Wrote To Arataki (13) 

Rock-hard fit for four runs back following an impressive all-the-way win in the Tristarc Stakes a couple of weeks ago over the same track and distance. 

She was always wide the start prior in the Rose of Kingston at Flemington, settling midfield but really finding the line strongly to finish half a length third. 

From the gate, I think we'll see her push forward and stalk the pace, and she should have a little more left in the tank with some relief at the weights. 

BET NOW: Wrote To Arataki

Emergencies 

17. Not An Option (9)

18. Military Expert (17)

19. Umgawa (14) 


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