Trainer Clinton McDonald would doubtless have preferred Friday’s downpour to come a couple of days later for Second Effort, but he is confident the gelding remains a solid chance for Sunday’s feature race at Caulfield.
The wet weather specialist, who has captured eight of his nine wins on rain-affected tracks, will line up in the $400,000 Group One Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m).
And while the bulk of the rain was forecast for Friday, showers are expected to remain over the weekend.
McDonald said Second Effort had recovered well from his seventh behind Southern Speed in the Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington on September 8.
“He’s coming along really well, he’s come through the Makybe Diva run in terrific order,” McDonald said .
“He went down to the beach for about ten days and he worked really well and we are going into the race hoping we can get some rain and he’ll be very competitive.”
McDonald said Second Effort had performed impressively this year.
“He’s had a busy sort of preparation and he’s been terrific really all year.
“He was set for the Wangoom (the Listed Wangoom Handicap at Warrnambool on May 2) and he won that.
“He then had a little let-up and he’s come back and won the (Group Two) Lawrence Stakes (at Caulfield on August 18).
“Anything from here is a real bonus for the horse and for the owner.”
McDonald said Second Effort had delivered everything asked of him.
“We’re going into (the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes) knowing that the horse is fit and well.
“He always runs well – very rarely he puts in a bad one and if he does there’s generally something wrong.”
The six-year-old has drawn wide in barrier 14, which doesn’t faze McDonald.
“That’s probably a plus for him at the moment,” he said.
“He’s got into this bad habit of breaking away slowly.
“The other day in the Makybe he was bottled up on the inside and just wasn’t able to get there so from that barrier he’ll be able to muster speed at his own leisure and roll forward.
“If he can land in the first six somewhere we’d be happy with that.”
Ben Melham has accepted the ride after Second Effort’s original rider, Chris Symons, broke his foot in a freak car accident on Thursday.
Caulfield track manager Jason Kerr said the Caulfield track was in “fantastic condition.”
“Certainly I couldn’t see it playing anything but really fair,” he said.
“Obviously if we get a heap of rain, more than they forecast, and we get into those wet ratings it may change things.”