Connections of 15 gallopers are waiting for Race 7 at Caulfield Racecourse on Saturday when the Toorak Handicap 2014 takes place, betting tips and exotic selections for the elite level mile showdown found below.
Set to jump at 4:30pm as part of the top Caulfield Guineas Day program, the $400,000 Group 1 David Jones NBCF Toorak Handicap (1600m) serves as a nice lead-up to the Cox Plate over 2040m at Moonee Valley a fortnight later.
Firming favourite in from $7 to $5.50 in the latest Toorak Handicap betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au is the in-form Trust In A Gust from the Ballarat stables of Darren Weir.
The Keep The Faith four-year-old comes off back-to-back wins at the track, taking his record to three from five at Caulfield, including the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) that he won in a narrow upset over Dissident on September 28.
It’s a tight top half of the markets too with four other single figure hopes with the Chris Waller-trained Sir Rupert third placegetter Bull Point ($6), Arabian Gold ($6) coming off a win over her own kind first-up, fellow mare Solicit ($6.50) out wide in barrier 14 and Group 1 winner Commanding Jewel ($9).
So will the Toorak Handicap winner come from one of these well-fancied runners?
Or is there an upset Toorak Handicap result on the card from the likes of Marco Botti’s European raider Guest Of Honour ($14) in his Australian race debut or the Team Hawkes-trained four-year-old Atlante ($10)?
#4 Trust In A Gust ($5.50)
Is the market mover and think this money trail is worth following with Weir’s galloper shooting for back-to-back Group 1s. The race he won last time out, the Sir Rupert, has provided 12 of the past 30 Toorak winners including recent winners of the double Regal Roller (2004) and Barley A Moment (2005). A good race for favourites with four winning in the last 10 years including Solzhenitsy ($5) last year and is the right age as a four-year-olds as that age has a 50% win rate since 2004. Great record at Caulfield (5-3-0-1) and should be up on the speed looking to go all the way.
#7 Arabian Gold ($6)
David Vandyke-trained Dubawi mare has won four of her five most recent starts including the Group 3 Golden Pendant (1400m) in Sydney last start. Has had one start for one win at Caulfield as a three-year-old and finished that season Group 1 placed when second in the Queensland Oaks over 2400m. Two from four over this distance and will appreciate the step up on her opening start where she defeated Catkins in the perfect lead-up to taking on the boys here.
#3 Commanding Jewel ($9)
Former Thousand Guineas winner, was a bit disappointing last time out when third to Dear Demi on the back of a Group 2 Let’s Elope win at Flemington but has been good since coming back from injury, is a winner at the track and distance, mile suits and is looking to earn a Cox Plate start.
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*All odds quoted are Fixed Win from Ladbrokes.com.au and subject to change