Gai Waterhouse’s eight-time Group 1 champion More Joyous will be out at Caulfield Racecourse on Saturday looking to become a dual Toorak Handicap winner when she contests the 2012 edition of the Group 1 classic.
The now six-year-old daughter of More Than Ready won the 2010 Toorak Handicap before running fifth to So You Think in that year’s Cox Plate.
After missing both of those races during a below par Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival campaign last year, More Joyous returns for this year’s $400,000 Group 1 David Jones Rose Clinic Toorak Handicap (1600m).
She will use the race as a lead-up then to her second go at the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), however even Waterhouse concedes More Joyous will be running for second in the October 27 feature at Moonee Valley with her star stablemate Pierro the dominant Cox Plate betting favourite.
More Joyous has had two easy kills this time in winning the Listed Sheraco Stakes (1200m) and the Group 3 Golden Pendant (1400m) at Rosehill but steps back up in class this weekend, Waterhouse confident she will despite her 60kg topweight.
“She’s bigger and stronger than she was last year and, although she will have a big weight, you’ve got to expect that with her record,” Waterhouse said.
There are two former Toorak Handicap winners among the 16 nominations taken this year the other being Stephen McKee’s Kiwi raider King Mufhasa.
The veteran Pentire gelding won the Toorak third-up last spring on the back of two good runs back home in NZ and on Saturday the now eight-year-old, who also won the Group 1 Futurity Stake (1400m) at Caulfield during the autumn, will seek back-to-back wins in the feature.
They come via the same two lead-up races as 12 months ago having run fourth to subsequent Underwood Stakes winner Ocean Park when defending their title in the Group 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Hastings before their last-start win in the Group 1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m), a race then ran second to Jimmy Choux in the year before.
Along with More Joyous and King Mufhasa two other last-start winners are nominated for the Toorak with the John O’Shea-trained Steps In Time who won the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) at Randwick on September 22, and Leon Corstens‘ Choisir five-year-old Tokugawa coming off a 1514m handicap win at Moonee Valley from September 28.
Other notable chances include the Michael Moroeny-trained Glass Harmonium who resumed with a first-up fourth in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) on September 30, Rob Heathcote’s Brisbane raider Solzhenitsyn who will be ridden by Corey Brown as they look to improve on their third in the Sir Rupert, and Stuart Webb’s triple Group 1 winning mare Yosei who ran eighth to Fat Al in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) over the weekend.
Check out the complete 2012 Toorak Handicap nominations in the table below, acceptances to be taken on Wednesday.
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2012 Toorak Handicap Nominations
Caulfield Racecourse – 13/10/2012
|2||GLASS HARMONIUM (IRE)||Michael Moroney||112|
|3||ILLO (GER)||Bart Cummings||102|
|4||KING MUFHASA (NZ)||Stephen Mckee||119|
|5||MAWINGO (GER)||Anthony Freedman||108|
|6||MORE JOYOUS (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||127|
|7||OVER QUOTA||Mark Webb||99|
|8||SMOKIN’ JOEY||Anthony Freedman||102|
|9||SOLZHENITSYN (NZ)||Robert Heathcote||102|
|11||SPIRIT SONG||Aaron Purcell||102|
|12||STEPS IN TIME||John O’Shea||107|
|13||STRIKE THE STARS (NZ)||Anthony Cummings||95|