Top Victorian horseman Darren Weir will shoot for a third consecutive win in the Toorak Handicap 2016 with two final acceptors for the Caulfield Guineas Day feature this Saturday in Melbourne.
Weir has won the past two editions of the $500,000 Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) with Trust In A Gust (2014) and Lucky Hussler (2015).
This Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival he returns looking to continue his dominance in the mile feature with Tosen Stardom and Royal Rapture drawn in barriers 12 and five respectively.
Japanese import Tosen Stardom carries 57.5kg from the wide alley in the 13-starter Toorak Handicap field looking to salute from the gate for the first time since Show A Heart (12 of 18 in 2001).
He kicked off his Australian career with Weir on September 3 at Moonee Valley in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) running under three lengths away fourth.
Stablemate Royal Rapture gets in on 55kg in the Toorak Handicap weights and has won his past five straight starts, the Clangalang seven-year-old last seen saluting over 1700m at the track carrying 58kg.
Heading the Toorak Handicap field and weights with 58kg is the Leon & Troy Corstens-trained Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes winner Awesome Rock.
In the past six years four Toorak Handicap winners have carried 58kg to victory including Lucky Hussler for Weir 12 months ago.
Fastnet Rock five-year-old Awesome Rock backed up from his Group 2 win at The Valley on September 24 running fifth behind Black Heart Bart in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m).
Black Hart Bart is one of just two rivals taking on Winx in Saturday’s Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m), while Awesome Rock goes to the Toorak Handicap dropping back in distance.
Also high up the weights and ratings is the Ciaron Maher-trained local galloper Bon Aurum (56kg) who has Kerrin McEvoy in the saddle.
Two back the four-year-old won over 1400m at Flemington in stakes’ company before McEvoy rode him on just 52kg for his Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) success at Caulfield a fortnight back.
The Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes has produced the past four consecutive Toorak Handicap champions including Trust In A Gust who completed the double two years ago that Bon Aurum is after this weekend.
Also out to extend a winning streak in the Toorak Handicap this season are the Lindsay Park-trained He’s Our Rokkii with the inside run from barrier one and the Tim Martin-trained Moral Victory also drawn well in gate three.
He’s Our Rokkii has won five of his past six starts including back-to-back 1400m Caulfield races this time in.
The latest saw the in-form Rock De Cambes four-year-old salute by 3.25 lengths with Dwayne Dunn aboard on 58.5kg.
Dunn retains the ride on Saturday with the gelding dropping back to 55kg, looking to be the first Toorak winner from barrier one since Caledonian Boy back in 1987.
Moral Victory gets in on the 52kg lightweight, the veteran Husson seven-year-old coming off a Rosehill win in the Group 2 Shannon Stakes (1500m) a fortnight back.
Two 52kg lightweights have won the Toorak Handicap in recent years with Allez Wonder (2009) and Solzhenitsyn for his first in 2012.
Solzhenitsyn also retuned to carry 58kg to victory as a seven-year-old in 2013, while the other recent seven-year-old winner was King Mufhasa (2011) just two years earlier.
See below for the full Toorak Handicap 2016 field, barriers, jockeys and weights before heading to Ladbrokes.com.au to enjoy up to $500 in bonuses as a new depositing player (excluding NSW) with use of the code BETBONUS (T&Cs apply).
2016 Toorak Handicap Final Field & Barrier Draw
Caulfield Race 9 (5:10pm) – 08/10/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||1x0420x015||AWESOME ROCK||Leon & Troy Corstens||Stephen Baster||9||58kg||109|
|2||x0x51709x4||TOSEN STARDOM (JPN)||Darren Weir||TBA||12||57.5kg||108|
|3||19x960x311||BON AURUM||Ciaron Maher||Kerrin McEvoy||7||56kg||105|
|4||8x41211x11||HE’S OUR ROKKII (NZ)||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Dwayne Dunn||1||55kg||103|
|5||75×1182844||JACQUINOT BAY||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Damian Lane||13||55kg||103|
|6||4321711111||ROYAL RAPTURE||Darren Weir||TBA||5||55kg||103|
|7||3x35217x26||COUNTERATTACK||Chris Waller||James McDonald||8||54.5kg||102|
|8||0x3419x103||MISS ROSE DE LAGO||Danny O’Brien||Ms Katelyn Mallyon||10||54kg||105|
|9||7x3x12x683||COSMIC CUBE (NZ)||Chris Waller||Craig Newitt||11||53kg||99|
|10||53x110x224||THAMES COURT||David Brideoake||Corey Brown||6||52kg||98|
|11||4000707116||GREAT ESTEEM||Stuart Webb||Chris Parnham||2||52kg||97|
|12||524536×511||MORAL VICTORY||Tim Martin||TBA||3||52kg||97|
|13||108x461x26||TIVACI||Michael Moroney||Patrick Moloney||4||52kg||97|