Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes 2022 Preview: Contenders, Betting & Winner Trends 

A capacity field of 16 gallopers will battle it out in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.

Caulfield specialist Ayrton is the early favourite to clinch this $1 million event after winning his last four races. He could face fierce competition from stablemates Age of Chivalry and Chaillot, while talented runners including Showmanship and Tuvalu are also in the mix.

Leading contender I Wish I Win has been named as one of four emergencies, and he will need two scratchings to earn a place in the race.

Read on to learn more about the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, including notable former winners, the race details, the odds on offer and our top tips.

Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes Background and History

This race was inaugurated in 1952, when Jovial Lad stormed to victory. It was initially known as the Invitation Stakes, with talented winners including Anonyme and Tauto. The race took place over seven furlongs, and it has been held over 1400m since the introduction of the metric system. 

It was renamed the Marlboro Cup in 1975, when Cap D’Antibes won, and Marlboro continued to sponsor it until 1988. It then became the Vic Health Cup, followed by the Eat Well Live Well Cup and the Dubai Racing Club Cup, until it was renamed the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes in 2006. The race was briefly rebranded as the Sir Rupert Clarke Charity Cup in 2014, but it has been the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes from 2015 onwards.

Sir Rupert Clarke was the former chairman of the Victorian Amateur Turf Club. He died in 2005, and the authorities decided to honour him by renaming the race. It has held Group 1 status since 1979. The Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes takes place in September each year


Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes Notable Winners

Several elite runners have won the Sir Ruper Clarke Stakes over the years:

  • Manikato | This champion Australian thoroughbred won 20 races that currently hold Group 1 status during his illustrious career. He was just the second horse, after Kingston Town, to earn more than $1 million, with famous victories in races such as the Blue Diamond Stakes and the Golden Slipper, along with five consecutive wins in the William Reid Stakes. He was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2002.
  • Encosta De Lago | This bay stallion won the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (then known as the Vic Health Cup) before becoming the leading sire in Australian in 2008 and 2009. He sired more than 400 winners, whose career earnings stand at more than $54 million, including champion sprinter Sacred Kingdom, Chautauqua and Racing To Win.
  • Exceed and Excel | A multiple Group 1 winner who became a successful breeding stallion, siring more than 150 stakes winners. His notable stock includes the likes of Excelebration, Margot Did, Outstrip and Bivouac.
  • Behemoth | Another multiple Group 1 winner, who secured back-to-back victories in the Memsie Stakes along with a win in the 2020 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes. He was the $3.80 favourite in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, carrying a tough 60kg, but he delivered a late burst to salute.

Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes 2021 Winner

Five-year-old mare Sierra Sue lunged past Dice Roll to win the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes by a nose last year. It was the first time 37-year-old jockey Daniel Moor had ever ridden a Group 1 winner, and the Victorian journeyman was overcome with emotion after the race.

It was an agonising defeat for Dice Roll’s trainer, Nick Ryan, who came within inches of securing a maiden Group 1 win. Favourite I’m Thunderstruck, who recently won the Makybe Diva Stakes, finished third.

Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes Time & Date

The Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes takes place at 4.15pm AEST on Saturday 17th September at Caulfield Racecourse. It is run under open handicap conditions on the left-handed turf track, available to three-year-olds and above.


Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes Field & Contenders


I Wish I Win 

I Wish I Win emerged as the top contender for the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes after securing an eye-catching four-length win on his Australian debut at Caulfield. However, the Kiwi galloper now needs a miracle to secure a place in this race after he was named the second emergency. Jamie Kah had been in line to ride I Wish I Win, but he is now likely to be aboard Graceful Girl Instead.



Ayrton is now expected to go off as the favourite for this race, provided I Wish I Win does not make the cut. He is a two-time Group 3 winner, but he was underwhelming in his only Group 1 outing, finishing well off the pace in the Stradbroke Handicap during the Brisbane Winter Carnival back in June.

However, trainers Mick Price and Michael Kent Jr. are pleased with his preparations for the current season. He is five years old, so he will give weight to some of his key rivals, but that did not stop Sierra Sue last year. Ayrton has also drawn Barrier 4, which gives him an excellent chance of securing a maiden Group 1 victory.



Danny O’Brien’s Western Australian raider is the second favourite after earning a commanding win at Randwick in his last race. He sprinted powerfully from midfield to chase down Prime Candidate in the closing stages of the Group 3 Show Country Quality, a 1200m race.

It was Showmanship’s first win in two years, as he injured a suspensory in 2020, which kept him sidelined for a lengthy spell. Before suffering that injury, Showmanship was billed as a serious candidate for The Everest, so many punters will be eager to see if he can maintain his upward curve on Saturday.



Tuvalu finished the winter campaign with back-to-back wins at Flemington, and trainer Lindsey Smith will be keen to see him regain that momentum. Both of those victories came over 1600m, but he won over 1400m on heavy ground at Warrnambool in May too. He seems to relish soft or heavy ground. Rain is forecast throughout the week, so he could be one to watch if things get sloppy.


Dragon Leap 

Dragon Leap is the first emergency, so he would go into the field ahead of I Wish I Win if a runner is scratched in the build-up to the race. He was last seen finishing fourth in the $1 million Group 1 Memsie Stakes at Caulfield, a race in which he exceeded expectations.



Hilal’s bid for a first Group 1 win took a hit when he was drawn in the outside barrier for this race. He will need to overcome that tricky gate if he is to secure victory in this race, but he is currently near the top of the betting


I Am Superman

The six-year-old gelding began his career in Ireland, but he is now trained by Peter and Paul Snowden. He finished second to Mr Brightside in the Group 2 P B Lawrence Stakes over 1400m at Caulfield last month, which augurs well for his chances on Saturday, but this is a big step up in class.


Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes Odds

Horse Fixed Win Fixed Place
I Wish I Win $3.10 $1.60
Ayrton $5.50 $2.15
Showmanship $6.50 $2.40
Tuvalu $6.50 $2.40
Dragon Leap $8.00 $2.80
Hilal $12.00 $3.60
I Am Superman $13.00 $3.80
Graceful Girl $14.00 $4.00
Chaillot $15.00 $4.20
Sinawann $15.00 $4.20
Aysar $18.00 $4.80
Dalasan $20.00 $4.80
Age of Chivalry $21.00 $5.00
Bankers Choice $21.00 $5.00
Buffalo River $21.00 $5.00
Laws of Indices $21.00 $5.00
Red Man Can $21.00 $5.00
Callsign Mav $31.00 $6.50
Just Folk $34.00 $7.00
Open Minded $34.00 $7.00


Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes Prize Money 

A total prize purse of $1 million is available for this race. The winner will take home $600,000, while the runner-up gets $180,000, the third-place horse receives $90,000, fourth-place earns $45,000, fifth takes home $25,000 and the horses that finish sixth, seventh and eight earn $20,000 apiece.


Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes Tips

The Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes has attracted another intriguing field of middle-distance gallopers this year. It features a tough barrier start, forcing the runners to jostle for position during the first 150m before preparing for the turn, so coming out of Barrier 4 should benefit Ayrton.

Horses with single-digit fixed-odds prices have dominated this race over the years, and Ayrton and Showmanship stand out. They are both a little heavy (56.5kg), as 22 of the last 30 winners have carried 55.5kg or less. I Wish I Win would only be lumbered with 54kg if he were to start, but that now looks unlikely. Tuvalu stands out, carrying just 54.5kg, so that could be an interesting option for a fixed place.

However, both Ayrton and Showmanship look perfectly placed to win this. Showmanship relishes a softer track, and he typically lives up to the challenge of starting as the favourite or the second favourite, so he could ultimately get the better of Ayrton and Tuvalu in this race.