A capacity field of gallopers will step out over the 1400m at Caulfield on Saturday to contest the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes.
Last year’s winner Begood Toya Mother has returned to defend his crown, but this time around he finds himself at a much longer price going up against Group 1 Memsie Stakes winner, Behemoth.
Blue Diamond Stakes winner Tagaloa is next best in the market hoping to claim another Group 1 second-up, while Banquo looks a great chance coming off an impressive run last week at Flemington.
We’ve analysed the entire 2020 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes field and offer our thoughts below.
Behemoth won the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville first-up before going on to win the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) over the same track and distance as the favourite.
The five-year-old put away several of the countries top weight-for-age horses in the Memsie and is the rightful favourite coming off a three week break.
Behemoth’s campaign was seemingly over after David Jolly chose to send his horse back home to South Australia, but he’ll prove very tough to beat again if he finds daylight down the straight.
Streets of Avalon
Streets of Avalon ran on for second first-up in the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) back in July but has found it tough going ever since.
The six-year-old son of Magnus struggled on the soft in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield before finishing 11 of 13 in the Memsie.
Trainer Shane Nichols chose to take him to Moonee Valley a fortnight ago for a run in the Group 2 Feehan Stakes over the mile where he showed some improvement for fifth.
Streets of Avalon won the Group 3 Moonga Stakes over this track and distance after stepping back from the mile during the Spring, but he does have his work cut out from the wide barrier.
Begood Toya Mother
Begood Toya Mother won last year’s Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes in what was trainer Daniel Bowman’s first Group 1 win.
The six-year-old led into the straight during his last start in the Memsie and should strip fitter for what was just his second run back from a spell.
Begood Toya Mother also finished sixth in last year’s Memsie before winning the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes.
He’ll carry six kg’s more this time around, but after skipping the Winter Carnival, he looks a live chance to repeat.
Cascadian is having his third run back from a spell after finishing fourth in both the PB Lawrence Stakes and the Memsie Stakes.
The Godolphin gelding dropped back to last in the Memsie before winding up out wide to narrowly miss out on a place.
Trainer James Cummings has drawn an identical gate heading into the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes and could be helped out even further with rain forecast later in the week.
Cascadian has won three starts on the soft and is also a two-time winner third-up.
Superstorm is having his second run back from a spell after finding the 1100m a little too short in The Heath first-up at Caulfield.
The Sebring gelding clocked the third fastest final 200m of the race and was outstanding when second to Alligator Blood in the Australian Guineas (1600m) during the Autumn.
If William Pike can offset the wide gate, he’s a very realistic each-way chance.
Dollar For Dollar
Dollar For Dollar is on the short backup after finding no real luck in the Group 2 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) at Flemington last week.
The Tony and Calvin McEvoy trained gelding has placed twice in seven starts at Group 1 level but will need to improve drastically in this field.
Madam Rogue showed a real turn of foot to run sixth first-up in the Group 3 Cockram Stakes (1200m) a fortnight ago.
The form out of that race behind Perfect Jewel reads well stepping up to the 1400m where she’s placed twice previously. Ben Melham does have his work cut out though from the wide gate.
Mandela Effect is a four-time winner over this distance but appears tested based on his first-up run when fifth among Listed company at Moonee Valley two weeks ago.
He gets the blinkers on for the first time, but with no real Melbourne form to his name since last Spring, he’s a long chance at best.
Dean Yendall and Reykjavik combined to win the Group 3 Chatham Stakes over the same distance at Flemington back in the Spring, so it would come as no surprise to watch the six-year-old put in a brave performance.
He found the line well for fourth in his last start over the track and distance carrying 61kg and could be worth a look in the exotics.
Achernar Star turned in a flat performance in his return to the races finishing dead last in the Listed Chandler Macleod (1200m) at Caulfield.
He has won twice previously second-up but this does look beyond him.
Age Of Chivalry
Age Of Chivalry got up to run a very brave third second-up at Caulfield in the Listed Chandler Macleod (1200m) and everything suggests he should appreciate the step up to the 1400m on Saturday.
The Matthew Ellerton and Simon Zahra trained five-year-old has placed in both of his starts at Group 1 level, which includes a second to Begood Toya Mother in this same race last year.
He likes Caulfield, so if Damian Lane can overcome the wide draw, he’s a serious chance for the minors.
Debt Agent is first-up on Saturday and looks well out of his class having failed to place in each of his seven runs since venturing to Australia.
The short backup looks a nice option for Pretty Brazen coming off a narrow win in the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes at Flemington last week.
The McEvoy trained four-year-old quickened over the final 100m to beat home talented Western Australian Arcadia Queen.
She won over the 1400m at Caulfield this time last year and should be doing her best work late from out wide.
Roheryn won the Group 3 Show County Stakes (1200m) at Randwick last month and has been kept fresh for his first crack at a Group 1.
John Allen in the saddle is a big tick, but he is untested over the 1400m.
Tagaloa won the Blue Diamond second-up last prep and appears one of the main dangers with long-time jockey Michael Walker on board.
The three-year-old went toe-for-toe with Extra Time first-up in the Group 3 McNeil Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield last month and was unlucky to be pipped right on the line by Immortal Love.
He’ll only improve on that performance, although the 1400m is a slight query from the wide draw.
Banquo ticks plenty of the boxes stepping up to the 1400m on the short backup.
The son of Written Tycoon put in a brave effort among a wall of horses hitting the line for second in last weeks Group 2 Bobbie Lewis (1200m) at Flemington.
He gets in light at the weights for his second crack at a Group 1 and now has race fitness on his side.
Harlech is the first emergency in Saturday’s Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes and is set to make his Australian debut should he earn a spot.
I Am Superman
I Am Superman won over the track and distance first-up last month beating home Morissy by a length.
He’s a three-time winner over the 1400m and is the second emergency.
Gold Fields has 11 race wins to his name and is coming off a last start sixth first-up in the Listed Chandler Macleod at Moonee Valley.
He remains the third emergency.
Runson looked in great order during his return to the races last month finishing third in The Heath (1100m).
He’s a two-time winner over this track and distance but will need some luck to make it in as the fourth emergency.