Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes 2023: Buenos Noches to bypass Group 1

The next start for classy sprinter Buenos Noches is likely to be in Melbourne but it will not be in this Saturday’s $1 million Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield.

Trainer Matthew Smith on Tuesday morning confirmed that the four-year-old, who finished a game second to Imperatriz in last Saturday’s Group 1 Champions Sprint at Flemington, would not be tested beyond 1200 metres for the first time in this weekend’s 1400m Group 1.

The son of Supido was allocated the 58kg topweight, but Smith said it was Buenos Noches’ recovery from Saturday’s race rather than the weight that was the key factor in his decision.

“He’s not running, he just hasn’t come through the run the way I would have liked, so we’ll just wait now, get him back to Sydney and get him ready for the autumn,” Smith said.

Buenos Noches got as close to Imperatriz as any horse has in what has been a historic spring campaign for the superstar Kiwi mare, going down by half-a-length in the 1200m Champions Sprint.

He e He was denied a clash with Imperatriz at The Valley on Cox Plate Day when a late scratching from the Group 1 Manikato Stakes, having finished eighth in the $20 million The Everest on October 14.

Buenos Noches launched his 2023 racing year in the Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) and Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington and Smith said those two races were again likely to be early targets in 2024.

“It’s all about trying to get that Group 1 on the board with him and I think the Lightning and the Newmarket are good races for him, so we’ll give it another shot and see how we go,” Smith said.

With Buenos Noches out and the need for a 57kg topweight in Group 1 races, weights for the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes will be raised 0.5kg with Damien Oliver’s ride Vilana and Chris Waller-trained Japanese recruit Lauda Sion to be joint 57kg topweights.

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