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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."

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