Nothing says “Spring has arrived” quite like Underwood Stakes Day at Caulfield. Our Melbourne racing analyst Trevor Lawson takes an in-depth look at the other big Group 1 race of the day, the $500,000 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes.
Caulfield Race 7: Yulong Park Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400 metres)
Group 1 handicap, minimum weight 52kg
The lay of the land
The track should play well – a sunny day is predicted with no rain beforehand, so expect a Good 3. The rail is in the true position, and the track should be even with no disadvantages for being near the fence.
The speed story
The pace here is fairly good, Xtravagant and Charmed Harmony will go forward from gates six and nine respectively, and Jungle Edge will also be up there coming from the widest barrier.
Look then for Mr Individual, Thames Court and Bon Aurum to be in behind trailing the speed. All three jump inside barrier five.
In the mix
Xtravagant (Autridge & Richards / Oliver) is the best horse here, but you just don’t know what you’ll get with him. If he plays up then forget it, which unfortunately just makes him too much of an unknown.
Counterattack (Waller / Williams) is a high class galloper, and ran on very well over 1300 metres at Rosehill a couple of weeks back, so the trip will suit and he should be right there at the finish. Likewise Bon Aurum (Maher / McEvoy), who absolutely walked in last time at Flemington when second-up and should only be better tomorrow.
Tivaci (Moroney / Maloney) is another who ran a lovely race last time out, and also has a great record over the 1400m – the bookies probably have him about right.
One they might not have right is Thames Court (Brideoake / Brown), who looks to get a good run after a pair of strong performances this preparation. The early markets underestimate her chances.
Badawiya (Price / Newitt) might not have got much of a result on return at Flemington, but had absolutely no luck and can be forgiven.
Coming toward the end of very long preparations are Fast ‘n’ Rocking (Hayes & Dabernig / Baster), who’ll probably get back on the fence, and Voodoo Lad (Weir / Parnham) – he’s an honest horse who won at Listed level last start, but will find this too much of a step-up in quality at this stage.
Put a line through…
There are a few here that’s simply don’t look up to it from a class perspective – as mentioned, Charmed Harmony (Sadler / Mallyon) and Jungle Edge (Bell / Gauci) will be forward, but are out of their depth here.
I also wouldn’t be having Rangipo (Pike / Lane) or Well Sprung (Tolson & Proctor / Symons). Telopea (Weir / Dee) probably can’t win just as a result of the weight scale – it only gets 4.5kgs off the topweight, which just isn’t enough.
Bon Aurum for me. After a couple of solid runs I think he’s ready to peak, and the handicapper hasn’t quite caught up with him yet.
I think Thames Court should jump at good odds, yet is in reasonable form and maps to get a very good run.
Trevor Lawson is a full-time professional punter with a highly successful record over the past fifteen years. Our Melbourne Ratings package gives you access to his assessed prices, speed map comments and betting strategies for all metro Melbourne meetings.