The past two winners of the Toorak Handicap will come face to face in the 2012 edition of famous mile showdown with More Joyous and King Mufhasa topping the 10-horse field.
Due to jump at 3:30pm as Caulfield Race 6 on Saturday, this year’s $400,000 Group 1 David Jones Rose Clinic Toorak Handicap (1600m) is shaping up as one of the best in years.
Topping the Toorak Handicap weights and likely the soon-to-be-released odds is Gai Waterhouse’s pin-up mare More Joyous.
The eight-time Group 1 winning daughter of More Than Ready won the Toorak two years back and comes into the race this year on the back of two Rosehill wins, most recently the Group 3 Golden Pendant (1400m).
She steps up to the 1600m for the first time since her brilliant Doncaster Mile victory during the autumn and she must bring her A-game on Saturday if she is to defeat this open field with 60kg on her back.
If successful More Joyous will set a modern day weight carrying record for a mare in a major Group 1 handicap, no mare having carried more than 59.5kg since Dual Choice won the Oakleigh Plate back in 1972.
Waterhouse remains confident however.
“I wouldn’t let it (the weight) stop her racing,” she said earlier in the week.
“I’d certainly be running her in the Toorak with that weight.
“She is the best horse in the race by a long way, she is not badly weighted in my opinion.
“She has got to roll the sleeves up at some stage and this is the perfect race to roll them up in.”
One thing firmly in More Joyous’ favour however is her ideal barrier four draw, last season’s leading Group 1 winning hoop Nash Rawiller maintain his association with her.
More Joyous showed she was ready for the challenge when she worked strongly on the course proper at Flemington on Tuesday, looking to cruise over the final 200m in 11.75 seconds.
“That’s More Joyous, she does everything so effortlessly and runs those sort of times every gallop,” Waterhouse said.
Following the 2012 Cox Plate-bound More Joyous in the Toorak Handicap field and weights is then fellow former winner King Mufhasa who is back to defend their title after the Stephen McKee-trained New Zealander won the race carrying 58kg 12 months ago.
Last year King Mufhasa came off a win in the Group 1 Challenge Stakes (1400m) and a second to Jimmy Choux in the Group 1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) back home in NZ before their Toorak success.
This time the evergreen Pentire eight-year-old comes off the same two lead-up runs having run fourth in the Challenge Stakes before their last-start victory in the Windsor Park Plate.
Drawn in gate two with Michael Rodd to ride, King Mufhasa is just half a kilo behind More Joyous with 59.5kg for Saturday.
There are then just two other Toorak Handicap 2012 acceptors above the 52kg minimum with Glass Harmonium (56.5kg) and Stuart Webb’s triple Group 1 winning mare Yosei who is still a lightweight chance with 52.5kg.
Michael Moroney’s imported Verglas seven-year-old Glass Harmonium, winner of the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes last Derby Day, will be second-up for the season having run a credible fourth to Moment Of Change on September 30 in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m).
They have work to do however having drawn the extreme outside barrier 10 on Saturday, top Kiwi jockey James McDonald booked for the ride.
Yosei meanwhile has also drawn wide with barrier nine, Glen Boss in the saddle, the Invincible Spirit five-year-old looking to improve on her last start eighth in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m).
The other more notable Toorak Handicap hopefuls for 2012 are then the John O’Shea-trained Steps In Time (barrier five) coming off a win in the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) on September 22, Rob Heathcote’s Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes third place-getter Solzhenitsyn (barrier three), and Aaron Purcell’s progressive Warrnambool mare Spirit Song who gets the inside run form barrier one with Craig Williams to ride.
See below for the full 2012 Toorak Handicap field, barriers, jockeys and weights.
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2012 Toorak Handicap Final Field & Barrier Draw
Caulfield Race 6 – 3:30pm – 13/10/2012
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||17x1111x11||MORE JOYOUS (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Nash Rawiller||4||60kg||127|
|2||121x214x41||KING MUFHASA (NZ)||Stephen Mckee||Michael Rodd||2||59.5kg||119|
|3||42010x47x4||GLASS HARMONIUM (IRE)||Michael Moroney||James McDonald||10||56.5kg||112|
|4||05483×0678||YOSEI||Stuart Webb||Glen Boss||9||52.5kg||108|
|5||0x1118x501||STEPS IN TIME||John O’Shea||Craig Newitt||5||52kg||107|
|6||0x42870x00||ILLO (GER)||Bart Cummings||Michael Walker||7||52kg||102|
|7||8x32111x13||SOLZHENITSYN (NZ)||Robert Heathcote||Corey Brown||3||52kg||102|
|8||211211×522||SPIRIT SONG||Aaron Purcell||Craig Williams||1||52kg||102|
|9||x24x6x1381||TOKUGAWA||Leon Corstens||Steven King||8||52kg||94|
|10||103371×980||ULUNDI||Pat Carey||Timothy Bell||6||52kg||89|