The 2014 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes field has been released and does not include Hong Kong-trained star Dan Excel.
Dan Excel was set to make his Australian racing debut in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday before contesting both the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 11 and the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 24, but has been ruled out of the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes after being found with a virus yesterday.
While Dan Excel has not been included in the 2014 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes field, there is still plenty of talent set to contest the Group 1 event this weekend.
Dissident (barrier five) has recorded two wins from as many starts during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival and he will carry the top weight of 58 kilograms in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes.
The son of Sebring has been set for the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) after taking out both the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 30 and the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 14 and trainer Peter Moody has warned punters that the four-year-old has not been trained for the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes.
Talented mare Sweet Idea was included in the nominations for both the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night and the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, but trainer Gai Waterhouse has elected to include the Group 2 placegetter in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes field.
Sweet Idea (barrier eight) started her 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a tough win in the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on August 9 before she finished second behind Dissident in the Memsie Stakes and connections are hopeful that the daughter of Snitzel can record her first win at Group 1 level in the Rupert Clarke Stakes.
Speediness finished a luckless fourth behind Rebel Dane in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes last year and he will carry the second top weight of 55 and a half kilograms in the 2014 edition of the race.
The Testa Rossa gelding returned to racing with a fast-finishing fourth behind Chautauqua in the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) at Flemington on September 13 and he will jump from barrier 12 on Sunday.
There are a number of horses taking winning form into the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes and they had a range of different fortunes in the barrier draw that was conducted this morning.
Atlante made his debut for Team Hawkes with a narrow win in the Listed Drummond Golf Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on September 6 and he has drawn ideally in barrier four, while The Sofitel winner Late Charge (barrier two) and Trust In A Gust (barrier nine) have also drawn fairly.
Cluster showed an impressive turn-of-foot to record his maiden win at Group level in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1400m) and may be forced into an uncomfortable early position after drawing barrier 14.
Trainer Peter Moody was delighted to draw the inside gate with A Time For Julia and the connections of Akavoroun (barrier three) and Gig (barrier six) were also happy with the barrier draw for their horses, while Alma’s Fury (barrier 13), Sistine Demon (barrier 12) and Bull Point (barrier 10) may need a bit of luck from their awkward Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes barrier draws.