Last start Theo Marks Stakes winner Cluster will head to Melbourne this weekend to contest the Group 1 $400,000 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
Trainer Peter Snowden had the option of staying in Sydney to run in the Group 1 $500,000 The Star Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick the following week but opted to stick to the 1400m Handicap at Caulfield on Sunday.
Even though Cluster has previously raced at Caulfield, Snowden is still wary of the tricky circuit and decided to work Cluster the Melbourne way of going at Randwick on Tuesday morning.
“He has raced in Melbourne but I never had him, I didn’t know what his action was like going that direction, I wanted to see how he got around the corner, to make sure he gets on to his right leg,” Snowden said.
“I don’t do it often (working horses reverse direction) but I think it was good for this horse to get his eye in.
“Caulfield is hardest track of all for Sydney horses.
“I think he was fine, Timmy (Clark) said he was on the right leg, got around the corner well.”
When under the care of trainer Anthony Cummings, Cluster was well beaten when tenth to Long John in last year’s Group 1 $1m BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield.
The Fastnet Rock four year old won his first two runs for co-trainers Peter and Paul Snowden at Kembla Grange and Rosehill in restricted grade in June and July before running second over 1200m at Rosehill on a heavy track in a BenchMark 85 Handicap on August 30.
But back on a better racing surface Cluster, with Tim Clark in the saddle, was able to come from last to win the Group 2 $200,000 Theo Marks Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on September 13 prompting the Snowdens to step the four year old up in grade again.
Peter Snowden is hoping to draw a good barrier in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes to give Cluster every chance to compete against some toughened Group 1 performers including the Peter Moody trained Dissident.
“I’d just love to get a good draw, it means a lot with this horse because if you draw wide it forces your hand to go back,” Snowden said.
“The horses up on the speed in this race are handy horses, horse likes Dissident, they don’t make mistakes so we need a few things in our favour.”