It’s been a long time between drinks for Sam Clipperton but the Australian jockey hopes a couple of old friends can help him return to the winner’s list for the first time since November 14.
Rides have been hard to come by for the 24-year-old – he hasn’t had more than three at a meet since December 2 – and he heads to Sha Tin on Saturday with only two in his book, however they happen to be the source of his two most recent victories.
Rule Thee steps out in the Class Three Sun Wai Handicap (1,800m) and Calculation runs in the day’s best event, the Class Two Leighton Handicap (1,650m) on the all-weather track.
Clipperton has ridden the John Size-trained Calculation at its last three starts, winning on the five-year-old over 1,650m in October before two midfield finishes over 1,200m and 1,400m, and is excited to see what the gelding can do on his return to the longer trip.
“It seems to be his pet distance, he’s got a good record on the track and surface so I think he can run well, he just got run off his legs a little bit last start over the 1,200m [on December 19],” Clipperton said.
“It was still a nice run but they just went very fast so back up to the 1,650m on Saturday and he should get his chance to be competitive.
“He’s very honest, very consistent and rarely runs a bad race. He should roll forward and take some beating.”
There are a host of winning chances in the race, with the likes of Fight Hero and Elusive State looking for strong performances before potential trips to the Dubai carnival.
Another Size-trained horse in Raging Blitzkrieg enters the contest in strong form and Clipperton has some idea what to expect from the five-year-old after riding him twice earlier this season.
“[Calculation and Raging Blitzkrieg] are both consistent types, Raging Blitzkrieg is having his first try at the distance but he’s always very competitive and there isn’t much between them,” Clipperton said.
“Calculation has got more weight so that will probably be a bit tough for him but he is proven on the course and distance and proven in Class Two as well.”
Calculation will carry 131 pounds in comparison to Raging Blitzkrieg’s 115, with the latter never having raced beyond 1,200m on the all-weather track.
Tony Millard’s Elusive State was somewhat of a surprise entry for the Group Two Godolphin Mile (1,600m) and the Group One Dubai World Cup (2,000m), but the gelding’s form cannot be questioned.
He comes into the race on the back of four straight victories, however they have come at Class Four and Class Three level and the horse would need to be winning well on Saturday to be a realistic chance of racing making the trip to Meydan.