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Clarken Racing | Clarken Racing News 55983 Clarken Chasing Third Consecutive Lightning Stakes

Clarken chasing third consecutive Lightning Stakes

Clarken chasing third consecutive Lightning Stakes

Will Clarken will chase a third consecutive $120,000 Listed Lightning Stakes (1050m) victory, a first in partnership with Niki O’Shea, at Morphettville on Saturday.

The top Adelaide stable have enjoyed a strong finish to what they have described and indifferent season producing five winners form their past 10 runners (including two placings) in what has been their equal strongest month of the racing season.

“We’ve had an up and down season,’’ Clarken said.

“We’ve had a really good year trading horses to Hong Kong, you take five of the two and three-year-olds out and it makes it hard to keep your winning numbers up.

“We ran second in another Group 1, we’ve done that the last two seasons, we lost a couple of horses and we’ve gained a couple of new ones,’’ he said.

Clarken said getting to their new Murray Bridge stable later in the year and the more experience gained following the shift to his farm at Sellicks Beach should see good things happen in season 2023-24.

“I think next year Niki and I will get a better rhythm together, from the new base at Murray Bridge I can see us really building some momentum,’’ Clarken said.

“Niki heads a really good team of trackwork riders which is key, and I think that will pay dividends.

“Every trainer always says they have a really good crop of young horses, but we’ve got a really good crop of two and three-year-olds coming through,’’ he said.

Clarken won the 2021 Lightning Stakes with Beau Rossa before Extremely Lucky produced a dazzling burst of speed to power over the top of rivals in last year’s edition and the stable have no short of four acceptances in this year’s feature.

“We’ve obviously had a better standard of horse in this race over the last couple of years, but these fillies get some weight off the others, and I was happy to see the main hopes drawing wide,’’ Clarken said.

“They’ll go hard and that will bring a few of ours into it, whether they have the class we will have to find out, but I think they are better (chances) then their prices indicate,’’ he said.

The interesting runner is Sweetened, an ex-Lindsay Park filly first-up for her new stable.

“She’s going in off two little gallops, we’ve missed a couple of jump-outs and trials but her two pieces of work have been exceptionally good,’’ Clarken said.

“She’s obviously got good performance figures and I’ve got a hunch she’s going to be a better horse ridden off them over the short trips,’’ he said.


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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