Toorak Toff gave the best signal yet yesterday that he can become the first horse in 95 years to win the 2012 Newmarket Handicap coming off a spell.
The Rick Hore-Lacy trained colt won his second 800 metre trial at Flemington and had a one and a half length gap on his competitors, finishing in 46.88 seconds with star jockey Damien Oliver in the saddle.
It will be an amazing accomplishment if the four-year-old can win the nation’s most prestigious sprint first up but Anthony Miven, an owner with controlling interest, said the intention was always to go in to the Newmarket fresh.
“We’ve had lots of discussions about the horse and I think the jury has spoken and said this horse is best fresh and he’s a sprinting horse,” he said.
“I think he proved that to all of us in the spring. We tried him over a mile [1600 metres] a couple of times and he doesn’t stretch out that far.
“It’s exciting times ahead and Saturday could be a crowning moment in his career.”
The four-year-old has acquired more than $1.2 million in prize money and boasts an impressive resume of six wins from 17 starts, including two Group 1 victories.
The $1 million Newmarket Handicap stands as Australia’s premier sprint and will take place this Saturday March 10.
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