The Melbourne Mail: Caulfield - 17th September 2022

The Rupert Clarke is the headliner on a deep betting card at Caulfield this Saturday.


There are cards with more top-end talent over the course of the spring carnival - there is one, for example, taking place at Randwick on this very day - but there will be few that offer quite as much depth to the betting as a card headed by big handicaps: the Rupert Clarke Stakes and the Naturalism. 

The Rupert Clarke is further complicated, at least for now, by the early favourite sitting outside the 16 that will start and needing two scratchings to gain a start.

Putting a rant about the need for a more dynamic handicap to one side, the race is a betting bonanza with or without the clock-crushing I Wish I Win. Our best of the day comes up elsewhere but this is fertile ground for each-way players and there are several interesting candidates to fill the all-important role of 'the each-way play.' 

Most will have clicked on this piece for a quick tip rather than a Marcel Proustesque description of the world so we will skip the workings out and leap straight to the each-way shortlist: Sinawann, Graceful Girl, Hilal. 

Two of these are drawn out on the wings. Barrier 1 for Graceful Girl and what will become barrier 16 for Hilal. Much will be made of that with the Caulfield 7 f known for being a tricky start into a bend, but a study of the impact of barriers over the course of this century shows barriers having little influence on results - at least in the general; please don't write in with your specific 'barriers win races examples'.... 


It's perhaps not so much the barrier you are given but how you use it that counts. Hilal ran gamely (and not for the first time) behind Anamoe over 7 f in the Winx when pressing forward but his two double-figure draws last season saw connections opt to concede position and essentially his winning chance. Barriers don't shoot chances. Trainers with bad ideas about barriers shoot chances... 

Hilal's trainers are yet to really hit their straps heading into the spring and have underwhelmed the market for six months now, giving punters 0.82 winners for every one they demand.

The same statistic makes for grim reading for Graceful Girl. Danny O'Brien is giving punters just 0.65 winners for each one politely asked for over the past half a year and tepid as those compaints are, it leads to preference for Sinawann from a three-strong shortlist as he returns to the Caulfield 7 f that brought out the best of him in Australia to date. 

Sinawann's career best rating came some two years ago now, back in Ireland when placed on Irish Champion Day at Leopardstown, but he showed that he still retains that ability when smoking I Am Superman over the Caulfield 7 f in the Heffernan at the back of the spring. 

He was below that form when resuming but has had a month to move on from it and north of 30/1 about a horse that, two back, started 7/2 in an Orr that produced the winners of the Coolmore, All Aged, Futurity, Makybe Diva, Blamey and Ajax, is just too good to leave alone. 

For our best of the day we roll back to the fourth on the card, the Prelude for the colts which (despite it's status) is a far deeper heat than the fillies raffle that follows. 

The front of the colts market looks rock solid and Aft Cabin is a favourite we are happy to get in behind having backed up slick splits at Sandown with a more sustained effort at Caulfield in what was far and away the best three-year-old race we have seen in Melbourne to date. 

He now moves from the role of exciting improver into the established benchmark slot. All of Osipenko, Amenable and Japanese Emperor are interesting and lively enough to think that Aft Cabin's rating is within reach but the favourite is unlikely to be done improving either with the step back to 7 f fancied to suit. 

The stable are fresh off winning both the three-year-old trials up in Sydney last week, the 7 f Ming Dynasty with a quickly improving colt by Astern, and Aft Cabin looks very much to type. 



Bet Of The Day: Race 4 #2 Aft Cabin @ $2.40

Each Way Play: Race 7 # Sinawann @ $31.00

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