Progressive gelding Age Of Chivalry (He’s Remarkable) will look to continue on his steep upward trajectory when he takes his chance in the Gr.1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
The four-year-old gelding has won his two most recent starts this campaign which co-trainer Simon Zahra said did not come as a surprise and revealed the plan to aim Age Of Chivalry at the Group One feature this weekend has been a long time in the making.
Age Of Chivalry, who was last seen defeating Gr.1 South Australian Derby (2500m) winner Qafila at Caulfield on August 31, is well-fancied in all-in betting for Saturday’s A$500,000 sprint.
While the gelding closed his account last season with two narrow defeats in the Gr.3 CS Hayes (1400m) and the Seppelt Wines Handicap (1400m), the form of both of those races has stood up this season, with The Inevitable beating him the Group Three, while subsequent Gr.1 Queensland Derby (2400m) winner Mr Quickie finished ahead of him in the Seppelt Wines.
“We actually earmarked the Rupert Clarke for him during the autumn when we put him out after he just got beaten, but the form stood up,” Zahra told ANZ Bloodstock News yesterday.
“The two races he raced in [the C S Hayes Stakes and Seppelt Wines Handicap] were won by the horse from Tassie (The Inevitable) and Mr Quickie, so they were seriously hot races and we knew he wasn’t ready mentally at the time.
“He was putting his head in the air and doing a lot wrong, so this was always our target and hopefully the Toorak after if he happens to settle. They were always our spring goals for him.”
Begood Toya Mother, who set a fast tempo before tiring to finish fifth in the Gr.1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) on the same day Age Of Chivalry won the Ladbrokes Odds Boost Handicap (1400m), is the $4.20 favourite for the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes with nominations set to be released on Monday.
“He is going there well weighted. He is a 94-rater and so is Begood Toya Mother and it looks like they are going to get a run. It is quite even all the way through and well weighted and there is not a huge gap from the top to the bottom,” Zahra said.
“So far, it looks like he has made a good natural step to the next level.”
Age Of Chivalry also carries an entry for the inaugural Golden Eagle (1500m), but Zahra says the New Zealand-bred gelding had to convince him that he could run further than 1400 metres before he would commit to a run in the A$7.5 million or the Toorak Handicap.
“At this stage, we will get through Saturday and then go from there. You have got to leave your options open as much as you can and if he can’t get beyond 1400 metres at the moment, then things are limited,” he said.
“I think he’ll get a mile if he can chill out a bit, but Saturday will give us a test whether he is making that natural progression (mentally).”
Age of Chivalry was pin-hooked out of Mapperley Stud's 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Festival draft to return to the ring later that year as a Ready To Run two-year-old. He was knocked down to Henry Plumptre for $50,000 when consigned by Curraghmore. -ANZ Bloodstock News