Rupert Clarke Preview: Rock solid for Group 1

Michael Rodd will be aboard We're Gonna Rock.

The Mark Kavanagh stable looks set for a change of fortune on Sunday when they saddle up the rejuvenated We're Gonna Rock in the Group 1 Rupert Clarke Stakes, due off 06:50 BST, over 1400m at Caulfield...

"It is clear Kavanagh has a more consistent and improved We’re Gonna Rock in his stable, a fact re-enforced when he resumed in the G3 Bobbie Lewis Stakes..."

The Kavanagh stable have not had the best of luck recently with champion filly Atlantic Jewel going amiss and having to be turned out for the spring, and of course more recently the tragic death of former stable star and multiple group one winner Whobegotyou.

The impeccably bred We're Gonna Rock has always shown plenty of raw talent but proven hard to train due to niggling issues. Connections decided to geld the son of Fastnet Rock at the commencement of his last campaign with immediate results winning easily at Morphettville Park fresh up then winning the G3 Irwin Stakes reaching a new master Timeform rating of 120.

At his last start before a spell in the G1 Goodwood at Morphettville he momentarily looked likely to cause champion mare Black Caviar to raise a sweat before she sailed clear to win by over a length under a strong hold. However he did defeat the rest of the field as easily as he was beaten, once again running to a Timeform rating of 120.

It is clear Kavanagh has a more consistent and improved We're Gonna Rock in his stable, a fact re-enforced when he resumed in the G3 Bobbie Lewis Stakes down the straight 1200m at Flemington three weeks back.

Patiently ridden by Michael Rodd, We're Gonna Rock was presented late in the race from eighth at the 400m, accelerating quickly and holding off a determined challenge by Spirit Of Boom. We're Gonna Rock ran to a Timeform rating of 119p and with that run under his belt looks to have scope to go to a new peak this afternoon.

Group one racing is not new to the gelding. Early in his career he was runner up by a neck to eight time group one winning mare More Joyous in the G1 Toorak Handicap over 1600m at Caulfield but failed to reproduce anything like that form again until he was gelded.

Interestingly We're Gonna Rock ran fifth in the 2010 Rupert Clarke Renewal behind Response but is a several pounds superior galloper today. A second up winner previously, regular rider Michael Rodd again takes the reins today. Historical analysis of the Rupert Clarke shows the five year winning average rating to be 116 If We're Gonna Rock runs to his 119 Timeform rating then he is certain to take holding out.

The main dangers are the improving four-year-old Moment Of Change and ever green Pinwheel.

Moment Of Change trained by leading mentor Peter Moody has always shown above average ability. No doubt he will appreciate returning to racing at his home track where he was successful at his only start. In the last twelve months Moment Of Change has done most of his racing in Sydney where he has won and placed several times.

Timeform rated 112p, Moment Of Change looks attractively placed in the limit weight of 52kgs. After winning at Warwick Farm fresh up in the Listed Show County Stakes over 1200m he was narrowly defeated over 1400m at the track in the G3 Tramway Handicap. A lightly raced four-year-old gelding, Moment Of Change looks nicely treated at the weights on the limit on 52kgs and with stable rider Luke Nolen returning to the saddle rates as a strong prospect.

A slight concern is his wide barrier however I can foresee the speedy Second Effort drawn one inside Moment Of Change taking him across the field early to take up a good position.

The Peter Snowden-trained Pinwheel (Timeform rated 121) has been in sparkling form in Sydney winning the G3 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Warwick Farm then taking the G2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) under weight for age conditions at the same track defeating Secret Admirer. Since that win Pinwheel has been given a Rosehill barrier trial to keep in trim and the fact he is already a Caulfield winner counts in his favour.

If there is a negative, Pinwheel started in this race last year and was found wanting with 58kgs finishing 13th behind Toorak Toff but it has to be said he was never really out of trouble after a very slow start. No doubt he brings similar form lines to the race this afternoon and is well worth another chance.

The Anthony Freedman-trained Smokin' Joey (Timeform rated 114) could be the sharp improver. The two time Caulfield winner comes into the race second up from a spell after a very successful mid-year campaign resulting in a comfortable win in the G3 Victoria Handicap over this course and distance in April of this year.

Smokin' Joey comes into today's race second up from a spell and although yet to win in that state did enough fresh up behind We're Gonna Rock in the Bobbie Lewis to suggest a forward showing is on the cards. Smokin' Joey's will be aided by the additional distance this afternoon and it is clear his "pet" distance is 1400m, a trip he has won three times previously over.

Winning rider Craig Newitt takes jumps back aboard and he tumbles three kilos in weight making him well placed under the handicap conditions.

The most successful Rupert Clarke stakes rider in the in the last ten years is Craig Williams winning the 2011 renewal (Toorak Toff), 2010 renewal (Response), 2006 renewal (Rewaaya) and 2005 renewal (Barely A Moment).

Williams rides the lightly raced That's The One on Sunday, a galloper he has won twice on previously. That's The One (Timeform rated 113) is second up today after an eye-catching fourth when resuming over 1200m at Moonee Valley behind Sea Lord beaten over a length.

On that occasion he wore blinkers for the first time and was doing his best work late running on solidly from ninth on the home turn. That's The One has an unblemished record second up winning both appearances in that state so it is little wonder Williams has elected to stay with him.

Further improvement in his ratings is required to beat this field but I am sure he has the capacity to do just that. He represents great value in what is a most intriguing race. Other possible value chances for the multiples include the lightly weighted Mister Milton and Queensland visitor Solzhenitsyn.

Back We're Gonna Rock @ 7.06/1 in the Rupert

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