Saturday's Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield will be Round 3 in the battle between South Australian pair Behemoth and Beau Rossa.
A combined margin of a neck has separated the two horses in their past two encounters as Behemoth chases a slice of Australian racing history as the only horse to win consecutive Memsie and Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes.
Beau Rossa narrowly won the Spring Stakes in Adelaide before losing the race on protest to Behemoth, before Behemoth proved too strong to win the Memsie Stakes last time out.
And while they are building a fierce rivalry on the track, it’s the opposite off it for their respective trainers David Jolly and Will Clarken who are confidants when it comes to their horses.
Jolly said he couldn’t fault Behemoth and was hoping there would be an even stronger tempo than the Memsie when the horse was forced to make his move earlier than expected.
“He looks well drawn there in gate three, hopefully they roll along a bit more like last year,’’ Jolly said.
“I can’t fault the horse, he hasn’t done a lot since the Memsie, we just need a bit of luck now,’’ he said.
A pull in the weights has Beau Rossa (barrier one) marked a $4.60 favourite with tab.com.au, Behemoth (gate three) a $5 chance with star Kiwi mare Probabeel wedged between them in both barrier and price at $4.80.
SA’s third Rupert Clarke runner Dalasan faces a wide gate and is marked a $41 outsider despite an encouraging return in the Chautauqua Stakes over an unsuitable 1200m trip at Moonee Valley.