The Group 1 $1 million Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) headlines the racing action in Melbourne on the weekend, and there is a star-studded field of spring gallopers gathered for the event.
The Caulfield feature drew a capacity field full of both last-start winners and resuming runners including the Danny O’Brien-trained Showmanship.
The Kiwi-bred son of Showcasing may be a seven-year-old but he remains very lightly raced having had just 10 career starts to date.
A winner of eight of those starts, the galloper presents fit for his third run for O’Brien on the back of a Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m) victory at Randwick on August 20.
Showmanship currently pays a firming $5.50 and is the early market mover in the latest Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
O’Brien also saddles-up the rails-drawn mare Graceful Girl ($14) who won Perth’s Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes last November and Callsign Mav ($26) coming off a sixth in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes.
Race favourite is the Peter Moody-trained I Wish I Win at $3.10.
The New Zealand expat has had just the one start for the Moody stable down under when impressing with a four-length romp home at this track and distance on August 27.
I Wish I Win may be fit and ready to fire but he still needs to gain a start as the second emergency in the capacity 16-starter Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes field this season.
Jamie Kah remains on standby for the ride should a miracle happen and two horses scratch out from the field allowing the favourite a run for the punters.
If not, Kah is likely to jump aboard Graceful Girl.
The other shortest priced chances in the mix are the Lindsey Smith-trained Winter Championship winner Tuvalu ($6.50) resuming for the season, Ayrton ($6.50) from the Price/Kent stable and first emergency Dragon Leap ($8) from New Zealand.
The ultra-consistent five-year-old Tuvalu, who is yet to finish worse than second in his 11 career starts, shapes up as a genuine winning hope according to his hoop Jarrod Fry.
“He’s never finished worse than second and the only time he’s been beaten over 1400 metres was by I’m Thunderstruck,” the champion country hoop, chasing his maiden Group 1 success on Saturday, told The Age this week.
Among the longer priced horses after an upset are Hilal ($13) for Team Hawkes and Team Snowden’s retiring I Am Superman ($14) drawn the two outside barriers.
The Neds Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes 2022 is set to run as Caulfield Race 7 with a scheduled jump time of 4:15pm (AEST) on the nine-race card.