Clarken’s Split de­ci­sion now reap­ing re­wards

The Sportsman Weekend - - News - By RAY HICK­SON

PROMIS­ING Ade­laide filly Split Lip “wants to be a race­horse” and that’s why trainer Will Clarken is confident she’ll handle an­other big test at Mor­phettville to­mor­row.

Split Lip has done plenty of sur­pris­ing Clarken in her four start ca­reer to date.

The $11,000 year­ling pur­chase isn’t overly big and Clarken re­sisted the temptation to try to make an early run­ning two-yearold out of her.

That move paid off when Split Lip was an up­set win­ner of the De­quet­teville Stakes three weeks ago and heads into the Group 3 $120,000 southaus­tralia.com Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) on a hat-trick.

“She’s al­ways shown good abil­ity but I didn’t want to force the issue with her,” Clarken said.

“We’ve let her work it out her­self be­cause I didn’t want her to turn into a four fur­long won­der.

“She’s happy to re­lax in races and hit the line which I think is a real asset for two-year-olds.”

Clarken said the “penny dropped” Split Lip dur­ing a short summer break fol­low­ing thirds at her first two starts.

She beat sub­se­quent win­ner Plover Lover on the Parks track in mid-March be­fore dash­ing home late to claim her Listed success.

“She knows what she’s do­ing and do­ing it well,” Clarken said.

has got a bit of speed but she can also get back and hit the line.

“She gal­loped on a rain af­fected track on Tues­day morn­ing, I was re­ally im­pressed with her work so I think she will be strong at the six (fur­longs).”

Split Lip’s goal this prepa­ra­tion is SA Sires’ Pro­duce Stakes (1400m) on May 13 and Clarken will head that way if she is strong at the fin­ish Satur­day.

“I thought she’d ex­cel at the 1400m around the Parks but her last win was a bonus along way,” he said.

Re­cent sta­ble ac­qui­si­tion Evan­ge­list is a horse Clarken has spent a bit of time try­ing to get a guide on and he’s qui­etly confident of cheeky run in the Listed $110,000 City Of Ade­laide Hand­i­cap (1400m).

The seven-year-old was sent over hur­dles last year but in the two starts Clarken has trained the geld­ing he’s recorded a cou­ple of clos­ing mi­nor plac­ings over 1400m and a mile.

So he’s stick­ing with that for­mula.

“I think I’ve worked him out a bit be­tween runs, he likes to be fresh and I’m half ex­pect­ing to run a race even though he’s up in class,” he said.

“He keeps miss­ing the kick which is a neg­a­tive for him but when he gets out over a trip he loses the will to try.

“We’ll back up him again over a mile and re­peat the process.”

Clarken also has Baker’s Dozen en­gaged in Max Basheer 90th Birth­day Hand­i­cap (1400m) and he said if she doesn’t fire she’ll be head­ing for a spell.

Trainer Will Clarken be­lieves Split Lip can take an­other step up at Mor phettville to­mor­row

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