The Rupert Clarke is always a terrific contest both on the track and in the betting ring and things are going to be no different in 2020.
There will be no shortage of tips for the Rupert Clarke, and without too much trouble a case could be made for just about all of the 16 runners. That all seems too easy and so we are going to go a step further and make the case for horse number 17 - the first emergency Harlech.
Harlech turns up here first-up and he is a get-back-run-on type so there are pretty clear and obvious knocks. But they are the best kind of knocks - particularly at 33-1 or thereabouts. Diehard punter Kylie Minogue wrote a good song about this. Better (to bet against) the knocks you know.
At big odds the unknows are with you not against, so we can worry less about them and focus on why Harlech can win.
Closing sectionals in a slow/fast NZ 2000 Guineas shine a good light on Harlech who was no match for the very smart Catalyst but a clear second best on the day ahead of the subsequent Derby winner Sherwood Forest. That's a piece of form that needs respecting. He backed it up in a pair of efforts behind Travelling Light (another smart one) and then again behind the familar Probabeel stamping himself as one of the better three-year-olds in what was a good crop across the Tasman.
There's a better chance that Harlech will be on the left of your television than the right at the finish of Saturday's Rupert Clarke but in a race loaded with them he looks a good gamble.
For our bet of the day we roll onto the last and this time we find one that really should be on the right hand side when Matt Hill cresendos the card in the How Now Stakes for the mares.
Lyre hasn't won since the Blue Diamond. That happens. Plenty of good two-year-old races are won by the best two-year-old not the best horse for the future. But Lyre is (we hope) a little bit better than the one-and-done types we have seen down the years and on Saturday she is handed an opportunity that she really should take.
It's D-Day really. Now or never. She's better than a group of mares that lack for any real star power and her fresh run said she was back in good nick.
That was a bunched finish but a deeper race than this and Lyre ran a good race before blowing up over the final furlong. That says she can be fitter for that and if it brings her on as hoped she should be good enough to take care of these.
THE MELBOURNE MAIL
Bet Of The Day: Race 9 #6 Lyre $2.80
Each Way Play: Race 8 #17 Harlech @ $31.00
Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes meeting at Caulfield on Saturday, picture Racing Photos