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Lee Freedman refers to her as a “roughie” but betting agencies are not taking any chances with Estee who is set to give the Hall Of Fame trainer his fifth Group One Rupert Clarke Stakes 2009 victory at Caulfield.
The four-year-old is best known as a middle distance and staying mare but two encouraging short-course performances this campaign have lured Freedman to raise the bar with her on Saturday.
“We are throwing the dice a bit but she is as good a chance as any of the roughies in what looks like a pretty average Group One,” Freedman said.
“I know she is going extremely well and with any luck she could have won her first two runs back this campaign.”
Estee is prominent in all markets with both TAB Sportsbet and Betstar opening her third favourite at $8 while Centrebet tightened her from $11 to $10 on Thursday.
Only three mares have won the Rupert Clarke in the past 20 years including the Freedman-trained Mannerism (1992) who went on to win the Caulfield Cup.
Others mares to win the Rupert Clarke in recent years were Pernod (2002) and Rewaaya (2006).
Freedman also won the race with Poetic King (1994), Encosta De Lago (1996) and Mr Murphy (2001).
Estee has three wins from 18 starts but was a close second to Belleza Veloz over 1200 metres at Moonee Valley and a fast finishing 1-1/2-length fourth to Cats Whisker in the Group Two Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.
Her Let’s Elope run drew the attention of stewards who noted she failed to get a clear run for most of the home straight and was checked at the 200 metres before finally seeing daylight the final 100.
“She is going into Saturday’s race hard and fit and has a good draw (barrier three),” Freedman said.
She is bred to succeed at the elite level being by Redoute’s Choice from Tycoon Lil who won three Group Ones including the 1998 NZ Oaks and the Canterbury Guineas.
Raffaello is the best backed runner in the Rupert Clarke and is $5.50 favourite with TAB Sportsbet and Centrebet and only marginally better at $6 with Betstar.
Winter Championship winner Gold Salute, who just failed to hold out Swift Alliance in the Group Three Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes at Flemington last Saturday week, is considered the biggest danger to Raffaello.
Article by Robert Windmill Aapracing