He may have a stranglehold over betting along with rival trainer Chris Waller, but Sydney’s Guy Walter cannot pick the favourite of his two Epsom Handicap 2013-bound horses Toydini and Streama for this Saturday.
Between them Walter and Waller prepare the first four in betting for the weekend’s $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick.
Current favourite in the markets at $4.60 is Walter’s progressive Bernardini four-year-old Toydini who sits just ahead of the Waller-trained Bill Ritchie Handicap winner Boban at $5.
Toydini’s triple Group 1 winning stablemate Streama is next at $6 before Waller’s reigning Doncaster Mile champ Sacred Falls starts the double figure chances off at $11.
While the bookies are tipping Toydini as the Epsom Handicap winner following their good Newcastle win in the Group 3 Cameron Handicap (1500m) on September 18, Walter isn’t so sure.
He’s not as quick to write off the chances of his five-year-old Stratum mare Streama after her narrow victory over another Waller galloper Royal Descent in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 21.
“You have a proven multiple Group 1-winning mare in Streama who is coming off a weight-for-age win in the George Main and dropping in weight into the Epsom,’’ Walter told The Daily Telegraph.
“Toydini is an up-and-coming horse who won the Cameron last start and is also dropping a lot in weight.
“It’s hard to see what his limit is because he’s a horse on the improve.”
For jockey Blake Shinn the decision of which of Waller’s top two qualifiers to ride was an easier one.
After guiding them both to their last-start victories, Shinn opted for Toydini who will get in with 54kg which includes a 1kg penalty, the horse having had 58kg for their Cameron Handicap success.
Streama meanwhile will carry just 53.5kg, a huge advantage seeing as she had 57kg on her back for the George Main success, and will be reunited with Hugh Bowman.
Bowman was last on her back for her second to Red Tracer in the Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) at Eagle Farm back in June.
Walter said he would be better able to make a decision of which horse he favoured more following the allocation of Epsom Handicap barriers later in the week.
“All I can say is that I’m confident both will run well but the barrier draw will be crucial,” he said.
“The whole complexion of the race can chance with the barrier draw.”
Both Toydini and Streama will complete their final piece of work before the Epsom on Tuesday morning at Warwick Farm.
“Toydini will do a bit of work (tomorrow) morning, probably more than the mare will need to do,’’ Walter said.
“But they are both very fit and I’m extremely happy with their progress into the Epsom.”
Stay tuned to Races.com.au to view the official Epsom Handicap 2013 final field and barriers later in the week.
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