Trainer Darren Weir secured back-to-back wins in Saturday’s Toorak Handicap 2015 on Caulfield Guineas Day with Lucky Hussler atoning for a luckless run last start to win on way to an Emirates Stakes mission during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Twelve months ago Weir prepared Trust In A Gust (2014) to win the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes – Toorak Handicap double and this season he returned with two livewire chances in the latter.
One of four elite levels on the Caulfield card this weekend, the $400,000 Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) featured a bumper 17-starter field that was led around by the Chris Waller-trained Strawberry Boy.
Jockey Jim Cassidy took Strawberry Boy around the outside from the wide barrier 16 draw to hit the front and set the pace from Kenjorwood and Moonovermanhattan.
Around the turn and at the top of the straight Strawberry Boy kicked clear but Weir’s other runner, last start Sir Rupert Clarke winner Stratum Star was coming hard and fast late while the punters’ pick Disposition was also finally getting into the clear after getting held up in traffic.
Right down the far outside though in a brilliant finish was the Glen Boss-ridden Lucky Hussler, Weir’s six-year-old Husson gelding out to atone after getting caught up during his sixth in the Sir Rupert last time out.
This time things panned out for the autumn’s William Reid Stakes winner over 1200m, Lucky Hussler showing off his versatility to salute in another Group 1 this time over 400m extra in the mile classic.
It was an impressive effort from the 58kg top weight who joined More Joyous (2010), King Mufhasa (2011) and Solzehnitsyn (2013) as recent Toorak Handicap winners to carry those big kilos to victory.
On the line Lucky Hussler ($6) had a length to spare over the former Perth-trained Disposition ($5) now trained by Lee & Anthony Freedman with Weir’s other runner Stratum Star ($8) holding for third in a photo for the minor placings.
Boss showed his true sportsmanship with the well-timed ride on the winner, but all his praise went to the horse.
“That was pretty easy,” he said.
“The writing was on the wall. He is a very good horse.
“Today was one of his peak days.
“He just showed what a really good horse he is.
“He should go on again from this.”
Clocking close to the track record even under the big weight, Lucky Hussler is set to back-up in the $200,000 Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day, October 24, on way to the $1 million Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on the last day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, November 7.
“It was a great win,” Weir said.
“He’s a special horse alright.
“To be able to win 1200 metres to a mile.
“He’ll probably go to the Valley in a mile race next and then onto the Emirates I’d say.”
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2015 Toorak Handicap Results & Finishing Order
Caulfield Race 7 – 10/10/2015
|1||1||LUCKY HUSSLER||Darren Weir||Glen Boss||–||4||58kg||$6|
|2||7||DISPOSITION||Lee & Anthony Freedman||Dwayne Dunn||1.25L||7||55kg||$5F|
|3||2||STRATUM STAR||Darren Weir||Craig Williams||1.35L||2||57kg||$8|
|4||5||NINTH LEGION||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Blake Shinn||2.85L||5||55.5kg||$21|
|5||10||FLAMINGO STAR (GER)||Chris Waller||Craig Newitt||3.25L||14||54.5kg||$21|
|6||15||ABIDEWITHME (NZ)||Peter G Moody||Patrick Moloney (a)||3.75L||11||52kg||$11|
|7||14||JACQUINOT BAY||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Chris Parnham||4.05L||17||53.5kg||$31|
|8||4||STRAWBERRY BOY||Chris Waller||Jim Cassidy||4.45L||16||56kg||$20|
|9||3||LEEBAZ (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||James Winks||4.75L||12||56kg||$41|
|10||12||HOPFGARTEN||Robert Heathcote||Glen Colless||5.5L||1||54kg||$18|
|11||16||AKAVOROUN||Ciaron Maher||Luke Currie||5.7L||15||52kg||$19|
|12||6||PUCCINI (NZ)||Peter & Jacob McKay||Ben Melham||6L||3||55.5kg||$71|
|13||8||KENJORWOOD||Peter G Moody||Vlad Duric||7.75L||9||55kg||$17|
|14||11||HI WORLD||Peter G Moody||Kerrin McEvoy||8.5L||13||54.5kg||$13|
|15||13||NOBLE PROTECTOR (GB)||Robert Smerdon||Michael Walker||8.7L||6||54kg||$12|
|16||17||RHYTHM TO SPARE (NZ)||Michael Moroney||Daniel Moor||8.9L||10||52kg||$61|
|17||18||MOONOVERMANHATTAN||Mick Price||Michael Dee (a)||11.65L||8||52kg||$81|