Darley Racing Manager Jason Walsh has revealed that talented sprinter Sidestep has been set for the 2014 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes that will be run at Caulfield on September 28.
Sidestep started his 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival with an unlucky second place finish behind Shamalia in the Listed Fireball Stakes (1100m) at Royal Randwick on March 15 and returned to winning form in the Listed Darby Munro Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 29 before flashing home late to win the Group 2 Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 19.
The Exceed And Excel colt was set to return to Group 1 level for the BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben on May 10, but the three-year-old was ruled out of the race after succumbing to a minor leg injury.
Walsh said that Sidestep had recovered from the injury well and he told Racing Ahead that the rising four-year-old will be set for a 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign that will be centered around a tilt at the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes.
“We had intended to run him in the BTC Cup in Brisbane, but unfortunately he went amiss the week before that,” Walsh said.
“We are going to aim him at a race like the Rupert Clarke over 1400, we think that is his ideal trip.
“We might be a little hard pressed for time to get him there, but we are very pleased with him and John thinks that he is going really well.
“He is about two weeks off starting his fast work and that looks a nice race for him on paper.”
Sidestep made his racing debut win a third place finish in the Listed Merson Cooper Stakes (1000m) at Sandown in 2012 and finished second behind Criterion in the Listed Black Opal Stakes (1200m) before dislodging jockey Corey Brown at the barriers in the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m).
He scored his maiden race win in the Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) and worked home strongly after being checked early to finish second behind Overreach in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m).
Sidestep had five race starts during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, but was unable to return to his best form and his campaign was highlighted by fourth place finishes in both the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) and the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m).
Sidestep has won over $1.3 million for Darley in his 13 race starts to date, but he is still chasing a maiden victory at Group 1 level.