Co-trainer Peter Snowden believes that Cluster will need plenty of luck to win the 2014 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes after the talented entire drew the outside gate for the Group 1 event at Caulfield on Saturday.
Cluster will jump from barrier 14 on Saturday and Snowden told Sky Racing HQ that he feels that jockey Tim Clarke will be forced to settle the son of Fastnet Rock at the tail of the field – just like he did when he won the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 13.
While Cluster was able to make up ground from the tail of the field to take out both the Forum Group Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on July 19 and the Theo Marks Stakes, Snowden said that he would prefer to see the four-year-old take up a midfield position, but the leading trainer does not believe that will be possible from the outside gate in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Snowden said.
“It is not ideal.
“He does have some pace and it has only been default that he has been getting back because of these wide gates.
“We wanted to be more aggressive on him the other day and he did jump well and we were going to go forward, but Tim decided that if he kept pushing he would be three deep without cover, so he came back again.
“I firmly believe that if he drew the right gate he could hold a midfield spot and we want to make it a habit to put himself a bit more handy.
“Getting that far back in your races you are really relying on luck and you have to sustain a long, long run.
“On Sunday giving Dissident seven or eight lengths turning for home isn’t a good idea.
“It makes the job very hard, but he probably has no option now and he will have to back and hope for luck.”
Snowden was clearly disappointed with the results of 2014 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes barrier draw, but he couldn’t be happier with the physical condition of Cluster heading into the $400,000 this weekend.
The former Darley trainer galloped Cluster the reverse way during trackwork at Royal Randwick earlier in the week and he believes that the Theo Marks Stakes winner will have no problem handling the Melbourne way of going.
“I couldn’t be more happy with the horse,” Snowden said.
“His work has been fantastic, he look absolutely brilliant, he is in good form and it is in good order.
“He was good, he was on the right leg and very natural Tim thought.
“He has raced that way, but I did it for my own peace and mind just to make sure that he is comfortable that way and he was.
“We ticked that box, but we certainly weren’t looking for the barrier 14 box.”
Cluster is currently available at Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes odds of $8 with Ladbrokes Australia, while Dissident ($5) has opened as favourite from Sweet Idea ($8) and Bull Point ($8).