The Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1600m) has attracted a capacity field of 16 runners, who are vying for the $1 million on offer at Caulfield Racecourse on Saturday.
Traditionally run in mid-September, the 2023 edition of the Rupert Clarke Stakes was moved to after the Melbourne Cup Carnival in an attempt to solidify the race as one of the premier handicap events for sprinters/milers.
Having raced in Sydney at her past two starts, Grahame Begg’s Magic Time returns to Caulfield for the first time since chasing Asfoora in The Heath 1100 on September 2.
The four-year-old mare heads the market with horse racing betting sites as a +270 market elect.
The Hellbent mare will make her Group 1 debut on Saturday after finishing third in The Invitation (1400m), where she was defeated by 0.3 lengths behind Group 1 winners Espiona and Ruthless Dame.
Set to be partnered by Blake Shin from barrier 10, Saturday’s Group 1 will be I Am Me’s second run at the 1400m, a distance she has not stepped out to since October 2021, when she was defeated 5.5 lengths behind Fangirl and Roots.
Strait Acer is another who will make his way down from Sydney, having last been seen finishing fourth behind Obamburumai in the Golden Eagle (1500m).
Mark Zahra is set to partner the Edward Cummings-trained gelding who continues to rise through the grades in Sydney with great aplomb.
Damien Oliver will take his final Group 1 ride in Victoria aboard Godolphin’s Vilana.
Despite needing to carry the top weight of 57kg, Vilana is firm in the market at +1100 as he looks to break his Group 1 maiden tag at at his fifth attempt.
The Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes is race eight on the bumper 10-race meeting at Caulfield and is set to jump at 4:25pm AEDT.
2023 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes Final Field