Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, by Chris Roots.
Sam Clipperton knows he is on a group 1 performer in Star Of The Seas in tomorrow’s George Ryder Stakes but just for once he wants to come back and not have to say to his owners ″next time″.
Star Of The Seas’ connections requested champion trainer Chris Waller book Clipperton again for their classy miler after he returned from Melbourne, where he won the Blamey Stakes after finishing down the track in the All-Star Mile.
Clipperton might not have won on the six-year-old in five rides but he has been runner-up in the Doncaster, Winx Stakes and George Main Stakes on him.
″They wanted to give Sam other go because he has come so close on him on so many occasions,″ Waller said. ″I think he gets in a race that suits once again on the weekend, and he is those of horse that will win one of these, and Sam knows him so well.″
For Clipperton, Star Of The Seas is the sort of horse he has been looking for since returning from Hong Kong a couple of years back – the one that makes him a group 1 winner again.
″It is frustrating for the horse and for me to be so close to winning a big one,″ Clipperton said.
″He has proven he is a group 1 horse a bunch of times. I’d just like to win one on him because he deserves it.
″Look at his form: He went tooth and nail with Verry Elleegant [in the Winx Stakes] then Kolding in the George Main last year.″
The margin in the George Main was a long neck and a short half-head in the Winx Stakes, but it was the Doncaster that real stung.
″I have to admit I thought we had the Doncaster won last year, if it wasn’t for Nettoyer,″ Clipperton said. ″She swept down the centre and got us.″
The margin there was a half-length, the biggest of the three group 1 defeats.
″Without winning a group 1, he has proven he is a group 1 standard performer,″ Clipperton said. “It would be satisfying if I was the man to get it done on him.″
Star Of The Seas is a $10 chance in a Ryder, which is likely to break a run of outs in group 1 for the winner. The $4.20 favourite Avilius is looking for his first win in 18 months and next pick, Funstar, at $5.50 is out to break a drought that dates back to last year’s Phar Lap Stakes.
Clipperton only has a limited book of rides on Golden Slipper day but another of his favourites in Sacramento will be out to continue his Sydney Cup preparation in the Manion Cup.
″When you are going to the races to ride Star Of The Seas and Sacramento, you know you are going to be in the race,″ Clipperton said.
″Sacramento is another horse I have had a lot to do with this preparation. He is so tough and I think the step 2400m will really suit because he has good grounding at 2000m now.″