SIR RUPERT CLARKE STAKES
$500,000, Group One, Handicap, 1400m at Caulfield
Registered name Invitation Stakes and first run in 1951.
Significant winners include Matrice (1955), Tauto (1970-71), Cap D’Antibes (1975), Raffindale (1977), Manikato (1978), Magari (1982), Canny Lass (1986), Mannerism (1992), Encosta De Lago (1996), Testa Rossa (1999-2000) and Exceed And Excel (2003).
THIS YEAR’S FIELD
Multiple New Zealand Group One winner Xtravagant is yet to show his best in two Australian starts but gets another chance. Sydney horse Counterattack is the early favourite ahead of in-form Voodoo Lad while last-start winner Bon Aurum is on the third line of betting.
Voodoo Lad or Telopeo could give trainer Darren Weir his third-straight win after Trust In A Gust (2014) and Stratum Star (2015)
Bon Aurum will be trying to emulate his sire Bon Hoffa who won in 2007
Jockey Craig Williams (Counterattack) is aiming for his sixth Rupert Clarke win since 2005.
Damien Oliver (Xtravagant) is aiming for his seventh win having recorded his first Group One win aboard Submariner in the Rupert Clarke 26 years ago
Corey Brown makes a flying visit from Singapore to ride Thames Court.
Six of the riders – Katelyn Mallyon, Chris Parnham, Patrick Moloney, Michael Dee, Chris Symons and Regan Bayliss – will be chasing their first Group One win
WHAT SOME OF THE KEY PLAYERS ARE SAYING
“I think I’ve got a really nice horse that fits the bill really well,” Counterattack’s jockey Craig Williams
“She’s been a bit of a bridesmaid this time with her two placings but she always runs well,” – Thames Court’s jockey Corey Brown
“He was strong and his sectionals were great last start. Those handicap conditions again at 1400 metres on Saturday will suit him,” Bon Autrum’s trainer Ciaron Maher