Trainer Ciaron Maher is confident in-form Bon Aurum can handle a distance rise when he bids to add the Toorak Handicap to his recent Group One Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes success.
Bon Aurum is aiming to become the 10th horse to complete the double of the Rupert Clarke (1400m) and Toorak (1600m) in the same year when he lines up at Caulfield on Saturday.
Trust In A Gust (2014) is the most recent while Barely A Moment and Regal Roller achieved the feat in 2005 and 2004 respectively.
Bon Aurum had two attempts at 1600m in Group One Guineas races last season and finished out of the placings but Maher said that wasn’t a concern.
“He’s a more relaxed horse now, travels better and therefore he’s finishing off his races better,” Maher said.
“He was a bit aggressive as a three-year-old but he’s a more rounded horse now and probably in his best form.”
Maher said Bon Hoffa had come through his Group One win well and Kerrin McEvoy would retain the ride for Saturday.
“He’s in great order,” Maher said.
“He goes out to the mile on his home track. There’s a lot to like about it.
“He galloped on the course proper at Caulfield this morning and worked well. Similar to going into the last race.
“Hopefully he can draw a similar gate to last time and sit in the same sort of spot. He seems to like that.”
Bon Aurum settled midfield in the Sir Rupert Clarke before McEvoy was able to get him out three-wide and in a position to strike at the top of the straight.
He opened $5 favourite in the TAB’s all-in market on Monday but a day later He’s Our Rokkii displaced him, firming from $6 to $4.40.
He’s Our Rokkii has won his past four starts including his two runs this preparation at Caulfield.
Bon Aurum is still at $5 alongside Japanese import Tosen Stardom with acceptances taken on Wednesday.