Horses contesting the Toorak Handicap (1600m) may stretch it out to longer distances over the carnival, but the race is usually won by specialist milers. Those that run well could head to the Emirates Stakes, on the last day of the Flemington carnival. Others, like Tosen Stardom and Awesome Rock, will target the Cox Plate or longer races during the spring carnival.
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Toorak Handicap Field Preview
AWESOME ROCK – Odds ($12)
Five-year-old entire trained by Troy and Leon Corstens.
Why he can: In great form. Won the Feehan Stakes and followed that with a fifth to Black Heart Bart in the Underwood Stakes (1600m).
Why he can’t: Enjoyed as great run in the Underwood, but did not finish the race off as well as he should have. Has to lump 58kgs.
TOSEN STARDOM – Odds ($6.00)
Former Japanese stayer now with Darren Weir.
Why he can: Sure to be improved after nice first-up fourth behind Awesome Rock. He did not a lot of room at a crucial stage and was still able to finish the race off well.
Why he can’t: Wins have been beyond 1600m, will have lost his freshness for this and could be looking for further.
BON AURUM – Odds ($5.00)
Four-year-old Bon Hoffa stallion, trained by Ciaron Maher.
Why he can: Racing in career best form with wins at last two starts. At his latest outing he claimed his first Group 1 win in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at this track.
Why he can’t: Rises four kilograms and 1600m is a query as he failed in two starts over the mile, as a three-year-old.
HE’S OUR ROKKII – Odds ($4.20 favourite)
Very honest Hayes/Dabernig trained gelding with a good record
Why he can: Won past four starts, including two Group 3 races at Randwick. Latest two wins have been at this track over 1400m and the step up to 1600m is a plus.
Why he can’t: Meeting much stronger opposition now and not good value.
JACQUINOT BAY – Odds ($31)
Another gelding from the Hayes/Dabernig yard.
Why he can: He is super fit and has shown plenty of fight, finishing fourth in his last two starts at Group 1 level. Most recent he did all the chasing and was beaten 2.6 lengths behind Black Heart Bart in the Underwood Stakes (1800m).
Why he can’t: At nine-years-old he is past his best and he will have to work hard early from his wide gate.
ROYAL RAPTURE – Odds ($14)
Former Tasmanian gelding, now in the Weir yard.
Why he can: Form is impossible to fault. He is racing in peak form with metropolitan wins at his last five starts, from 1500m to 1700m. Drawn well and will race on the speed.
Why he can’t: Wins have been in much lower grade and will find this opposition too strong.
COUNTERATTACK – Odds ($8.50)
Chris Waller trained entire, by Redoute’s Choice.
Why he can: He was set a task last start. He fired-up early last start and was trapped three deep without cover, when sixth to Bon Aurum in the Rupert Clarke Stakes. It would pay to forget, he’ll be better for the run on the track and no doubt ridden a lot quieter this time.
Why he can’t: Promises plenty, but rarely delivers and yet to win beyond 1350m.
MISS ROSE DE LAGO – Odds ($19)
Katelyn Mallyon has the ride on this six-year-old mare.
Why she can: Track specialist with four wins from five starts here. Won the Group 2 Lawrence Stakes three starts back and latest she led and fought on strongly for third in the Stocks Stakes (1600m).
Why she can’t: Mixes form and Group 1 level looks beyond her.
COSMIC CUBE – Odds ($26)
Former Kiwi gelding, now trained by Chris Waller.
Why he can: Drops 4.5kilograms on last start when third to Moral Victory in Group 2 Shannon Stakes at Rosehill.
Why he can’t: Listed race win in Canberra is his best effort and out of his depth.
THAMES COURT – Odds ($15)
Singapore based jockey Corey Brown retains the ride on this Mornington trained mare.
Why she can: Has been around the money in three starts this preparation. Followed Group 2 placing at Flemington with fourth in the Rupert Clarke and has the same lightweight of 52kgs here.
Why she can’t: She was given the run of the race from barrier one last start and couldn’t beat them.
GREAT ESTEEM – Odds ($34)
Six-year-old gelding, trained on the track by Stuart Webb.
Why he can: Won two in a row before finishing last to Winx in the Group 1 George Main Stakes at Randwick. Back to home track, drops nine kilograms and should get the gun run.
Why he can’t: His best win is at Listed level and he just lacks the class.
MORAL VICTORY – Odds ($17)
Sydney gelding prepared by Tim Martin.
Why he can: Winner last two starts in Sydney, latest was Group 2 Shannon Quality, when he won with something in hand.
Why he can’t: Seven-year-old and best days are behind him.
TIVACI – Odds ($9.50)
This four-year-old won the Group 3 Sunshine Coast Guineas during the winter.
Why he can: Should be ready to produce best following two runs from a spell. His sixth in the Rupert Clarke suggested he is looking for more ground, which he gets here.
Why he can’t: he is by High Chaparral and may be better suited when his races get beyond 1600m.
- Bon Aurum
- He’s Our Rokkii