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Clarken Racing | Clarken Racing News 53060 Ironclad Primed To Make An Impact In Cranbourne Cup

Ironclad primed to make an impact in Cranbourne Cup

Ironclad primed to make an impact in Cranbourne Cup

He's already got a Golden Mile under his belt and now Ironclad is eyeing another Victorian feature, with trainer Will Clarken saying he's got the veteran going as well he can ahead of Saturday's Listed Cranbourne Cup.

The seven-year-old resumed with an eye-catching third in the Group 2 Linlithgow Stakes at Flemington on Derby Day and the South Australian handler is thrilled with how he's come through the run.

Ironclad can be a tricky horse to manage at times but Clarken believes he's ready to produce a peak run, in a similar vein to his Golden Mile victory at Bendigo last year.

"It was terrific (his run at Flemington) – unfortunately it looked like there was really good speed in the race but the scratchings came out and so did the speed and we had to go back and take our medicine," he said.

"He ran home well – he really tried – his head was nice and low and you could tell he put in.

"He went over there a bit underdone and he's really thrived since then. We've got him in a really happy place now.

"I haven't had the horse this good since he won the Golden Mile and hopefully we can see a similar performance on Saturday."

Clarken is less thrilled with the barrier draw for the $500,000 contest, with Ethan Brown having to navigate gate 13 of 15.

"We've been given the short end of the stick," he said.

"I would've just loved him to draw five or six, he could stay in his lane and we wouldn't have to go back.

"There are a couple of horses that have to be ridden one way and hopefully they bowl along and there's some tempo in it."

Ironclad is rated a $10 chance with the TAB with Uncle Bryn and Visinari sharing favouritism at $5.

Clarken is also taking He's A Balter across the border for the Apache Cat Classic, the six-year-old having his first start since a campaign in Meydan where he collected a second and a Group 2 fourth.

"He's paying for his consistency – he's got quite a high rating and he really came from nowhere – he out-tries his ability," the Sellicks Hill trainer said.

"But I couldn't be happier with his two latest trials, he looks to have come up well for a horse who was on the other side of the world."

Clarken has had plenty of success travelling horses over the years – he's also sending Beau Rossa to Perth for the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes later this month – and has the systems in place to ensure they can compete at their best.

"For Ironclad and Beau Rossa, their ratings basically rule them out for 99 per cent of the races in South Australia, so they have to travel," he said.

"For stakes-grade horses, you could leave a horse here for a race like the City of Marion Stakes, but they're not worth as much as a metro race in Melbourne now.

"That's a bit sad and it's a bit hard on the owners so realistically, if we're going to have these sort of horses in our yard, they're going to have to spend a lot of time interstate.

"Older geldings like that are amazingly tough. Once they get used to the travel, they are incredibly resilient."


ICYMI - Galaxy Patch runs a smashing second in the Hong Kong Derby

  A $50,000 Adelaide Magic Million purchase by Will Clarken, Suman Hedge Bloodstock and David Jolly the son of Wandjina was purchased with Hong Kong in mind. After winning impressively on debut at Morphettville, Hong Kong was on the radar.   Instantly the gelding made his presence felt in Hong Kong winning on debut he then went on to win three further races following an unplaced run on the all weather track. Going into the Hong Kong Derby he was second at Group One level against California Spangle. The step up to 2000 metres was a question mark having previously only ran over the sprint trips.   From the big raw lad we purchased at the Adelaide Magic Millions in 2021 it is such a pleasure to see the vision we had almost become a reality on international shores.   Galaxy Patch became the second horse selected at the Adelaide Magic Millions by Will to reach the Hong Kong Derby after Prawn Baba a $20,000 purchase placed seventh in 2017.

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Kuroyanagi's spring goals

South Australian filly Kuroyanagi will spell in Victoria after a terrific run to finish third in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield, with her trainers already looking ahead to further elite-level targets in the spring. Niki O'Shea, who co-trains with Will Clarken, said the filly could head towards Guineas options later this year, having shown a great deal of raw talent in just her first racing preparation. "It was great, she was fantastic," O'Shea said. "When she came off the bit early, I thought we were in big trouble, so I was just happy that she did what she did. "On Sunday morning you wouldn't have known she'd had a run. She's actually going to stay there, she's gone to the paddock at one of those nice places down at Mornington." Clarken and O'Shea were not sure where Kuroyanagi would get to in her first preparation, with the view the $390,000 Written Tycoon filly will be a superior three-year-old galloper. "We've hardly trained her really, she's just done it under her own steam, we nearly put her in the paddock three or four times and she just kept pointing us in the right direction," O'Shea said. "He (Brenton Avdulla) said she was just green, ran off the corner and ran around the place, she's still six months away. He said she might even be a Guineas-type of horse, she's got the big action and she'll only keep improving."Story from Tim Yeatman

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Clarken ‘blown away' by his Blue Diamond filly

Blue Diamond contender Kuroyanagi is doing things Will Clarken has never seen before. The Group 1-winning trainer is astounded by the physical development of the talented filly and her appetite for work, confident she's going to run a big race in Saturday's $2m feature at Caulfield. Clarken has been open about the fact he's been searching for an excuse to tip Kuroyanagi out, convinced she's going to be even better as a three-year-old, but she's just thriving. "It's amazing. Me and (co-trainer) Niki (O'Shea) are just blown away by what she's done," Clarken said. "I could send people a video of her first gallop this prep and you'd just think it was a different horse. The way she's improved and the way she can handle pressure in a preparation is phenomenal. "I've never had a juvenile who has strengthened and developed in work. Week-to-week she's getting bigger and stronger and more durable. She's a ferocious doer and nothing fazes her. "I haven't dealt with a lot of really good young horses like this but she's just obviously got a great constitution." Kuroyanagi first came to prominence in early January when superstar jockey Jamie Kah made a rare visit home to South Australia to ride her to a dominant victory in a jumpout at Murray Bridge. She went on to win her debut in soft fashion at Gawler before an agonising second across the border in the Group 2 Blue Diamond Prelude for fillies earlier this month. "She's just come home and thrived. I haven't had one travel back and handle it so well for a long time," Clarken said. "That was our main concern as it was the first trip away for a young horse but she's put on weight, she's really above herself and he work has been terrific – we've been able to get two good gallops into her." With Kah and Blake Shinn, who partnered Kuroyanagi in the Prelude, opting to go elsewhere, Clarken was left searching for a suitable rider and he was watching a recent Sha Tin meeting when it hit him that Brenton Avdulla would be perfect. "I like to keep an eye on Hong Kong racing because we've got a small pool of horses over there now and he's riding so well," he said. "I was going through options, I asked a couple of Sydney guys and they had rides up there, so I said to (racing manager) Lachie (Weekley) ‘why don't you ask (Avdulla)'? "We watched him ride a double at the Chinese New Year meeting and I thought ‘imagine getting him on, it'd be awesome'." Kuroyanagi is rated an $18 hope with the TAB and Clarken thinks that presents good value. "The gate (two) to me is not ideal, I would've liked to have drawn out a little bit, but we've got the gun riding her, so that will help," he said "If she gets a little luck in running, I think she's a genuine each-way chance. "It's hard to say that going into big Group 1s but she has trained on remarkably well."

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