Trainer David Jolly is hoping that history can repeat itself as his star Behemoth tries to complete the Memsie Stakes-Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes double once again.
Behemoth completed that double last year and went back-to-back in the Memsie Stakes second-up at his previous start.
“He’s obviously done all the same things,” Jolly responded when asked to compare the 2021 version of Behemoth to the previous year.
“He probably hasn’t won with the same authority as last year in a couple of these races, but they’ve been a little bit indifferently run.
“We had a bit of a wet winter over here (South Australia), I don’t think he was quite as forward fitness-wise as he was last year, but the good thing is he’s still managed to get the job done.
“I think he’s at full fitness levels now. Obviously, he’s up a bit in the weights and there’s a bigger spread this year, but I’m really happy with the horse.”
One thing that is different this year is that Behemoth has a new sparring partner in fellow South Australian Beau Rossa.
The pair met in the Spring Stakes at Morphettville, with Beau Rossa finishing ahead of Behemoth at the post only to lose the race on protest, before Behemoth then held off Beau Rossa’s late charge in the Memsie Stakes.
“Obviously, Behemoth has been around the block and Beau Rossa’s like the new kid on the block,” Jolly said.
“He’s raced very well against him, and they’ve had a couple of good stoushes. Ironically, they’re drawn almost next to each other again.
“Obviously, Beau Rossa meets him a little bit better at the weights this time, although he copped a fair few points for running second to him the other day, so it will be an interesting contest.”
While for a number of participants, the nature of cross border travel has presented its challenges during the pandemic, Jolly says that it’s nothing new for him and Behemoth.
“We’ve sort of got used to it, we had to do it last year,” he said.
“The horse has won three group ones, and I haven’t been there each time.
“There’s probably a formula I don’t want to change, maybe I’m better off not being there!”
Jolly offered a further observation about what it’s like for him as a trainer to not be there in person to witness Behemoth plunder the spring riches in Melbourne.
“I suppose you do get more toey if you’re over there, but the thing I find relaxing about it is the fact he’s over there, and you’re busy tending to your other business at home, you tend to not think about it too much,” he said.
“You’re quite relaxed going into it, I find, anyway.”
Jolly said that he hadn’t locked in a set plan for Behemoth following Saturday’s race, but he does have a possible path ahead mapped out.
“I think he’ll probably go to the Toorak (Handicap) and the Cantala (Stakes), that would be afterwards,” he said.
“It’s a little bit run by run.
“We did pay the first acceptance for the Cox Plate, I just think that distance range is probably a little bit further than what we’d want, but he’s still in the race.”
Behemoth’s tilt at a second successive win in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes comes as Jolly’s stable is enjoying a tremendous run of form, with the yard operating at a 20% strike rate from its last 50 runners.
“I’ve got some nice horses there at the moment,” Jolly said.
“One that won last week called Howl, which I think is quite promising, and a horse that won the week before that called Speak No Eagle, won on debut. He’s gone out now, Howl is probably going to have a little freshen up and a couple of runs through October.
“We’ve got a couple of nice horses poking around the place, we’re having a good time at the moment.”