Running a gallant third behind Boban and Streama in the 2013 edition of the feature race, co-trainer Michael Hawkes is confident classy five-year-old Toydini is more than a chance of figuring in contention again in Saturday’s Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick.
Prepared by the late, great Guy Walter until his passing earlier this year, Toydini finished third in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) in his first start under Team Hawkes on September 6th, but was far-less convincing when beating just two runners home in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) most recently on September 20th.
Pleased with a strong piece of work produced by the Bernardini gelding on Tuesday morning, Hawkes told The Daily Telegraph the Epsom Handicap has figured as the major target for Toydini all prep and is hoping the addition of blinkers will help see a return to the winner’s circle.
“The Epsom was always the race in mind for him,” Hawkes said.
“If you go back to his first run, he really hit the line, then last start Corey (Brown, jockey) probably should have stuck to the fence and waited for the gaps to come, but he was already committed to a position.
“His work this morning was good, and we’ve put the blinkers back on him, just to sharpen him up.”
Confirmed to partner the five-year-old for just the second time competitively this weekend, recently-crowned Sydney Premiership winning jockey James McDonald is excited by the prospect of Group 1 success aboard Toydini in the Epsom Handicap.
He’s very good on his day, I hope the blinkers switch him on, which I think they will, because he’s so relaxed and he gives you a good feel when you ride him. He’s a good chance on Saturday,” McDonald said.
Securing five wins and as many minor places from just 25 competitive starts so far, Toydini secured several competitive results without being able to break through for a race win over five starts in autumn; finishing fifth in both the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) and Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) and sixth in the major Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on Day 2 of The Championships.
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