Gun Sydney three-year-old Smart Missile needs to overcome the visitor’s draw to give trainer Anthony Cummings his second Group One Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes win in three years.
Cummings declared the colt, who has eased from $3 to $3.20 favouritism with TAB Sportsbet, may need a “ton of luck” after he drew the outside barrier in the 17-horse field for Saturday’s 1400-metre feature.
“I definitely think the race is within his capability but the barrier makes it a bit more interesting,” Cummings said.
“I was going to say he just needs a touch of luck but from the draw maybe it is a ton of luck.
“At some stage I will have my heart in my mouth but hopefully it turns out well”.
Cummings won the Rupert Clarke two years ago with Turffontein who was ridden by Smart Missile’s jockey Glen Boss.
Smart Missile would emulate Encosta De Lago who is the last horse to win from the outside barrier. He had gate 18.
Encosta De Lago (1996) is also one of four three-year-olds to win the race since 1995.
Our Maizcay (1995), Testa Rossa (1999) and Exceed and Excel (2003) are other recent three-year-old winners.
Smart Missile suffered his first defeat in four starts when an unlucky second to Manawanui in the Group One Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill two weeks ago.
However he remains the only horse to have beaten champion youngster Sepoy.
Cummings said the son of Fastnet Rock had adapted well to training anti-clockwise in Melbourne and was confident it wouldn’t be an issue under race pressure on Saturday.
“He’s had two gallops at Caulfield and he’s in pretty good shape,” Cummings said.
The 1400-metre start should give an advantage to horses drawn inside but interestingly 12 of the last 25 winners have come from barrier 10 or wider.
Nine of the 13 winners inside barrier 10 were from gates one to five and TAB Sportsbet punters have got behind Woorim after he drew gate five.
He opened at $8.50 on Wednesday morning but by early afternoon was $5 second favourite.
Three winners have won from barrier five in the last 25 years including Response last year.
Third favourite Pinwheel ($8) has barrier eight which has also had three winners.
Longshot Jungle Ruler ($101) has barrier one while three-time Group One winner Yosei ($26) will jump from gate two.
Hong Kong raider Silver Grecian ($26) has barrier four and the Rick Hore-Lacy-trained stablemates Pinnacles ($17) and Toorak Toff ($16) jump from barriers six and seven respectively.
Peter Moody’s two runners, Luen Yat Forever ($14) and Testascana ($10), have drawn awkwardly in barriers 13 and 16 respectively.