Last year’s seven-length champion Zaaki returns...
The non-acceptance of 10-time Group 1 winner King Mufhasa in this weekend’s Toorak Handicap 2013 will see the weights for the Caulfield Guineas Day feature rise 2.5kgs.
Trainer Bruce Wallace confirmed that the original 58kg top-weight King Mufhasa would not be running in the $400,000 Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield Racecourse this weekend due to soreness.
Last seen running a brave first-up second to Xanadu back in their former homeland of New Zealand in the Group 1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) on September 21, King Mufhasa’s new target is the $220,000 Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day, October 26.
The veteran Pentire nine-year-old’s withdrawal sees the remaining hopes all go up 2.5kgs each in the Toorak.
If accepted the new top-weights in the field will be John Sadler’s Stradbroke Handicap winner Linton and the Rob Heathcote-trained reigning Toorak Handicap champ Solzhenitsyn who go up to the 58kg.
Galileo seven-year-old Linton returned to racing on September 29 and ran a credible fifth to Rebel Dane in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) with that same weight.
St Petersburg gelding Solzhenitsyn, also seven, meanwhile had 57.5kg on their back in the Sir Rupert and ran a smashing third with just a long neck separating them and the winner.
They did only carry 52kg to victory in last year’s Toorak Handicap however meaning they will have a full six kilograms more for their title defense on Saturday.
Heathcote is hoping they can rise to the occasion however and hand him his second Group trophy of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival following the success of Fire Uf Fife in the Group 2 Blazer Stakes (1410m) at Flemington last Saturday.
The three heaviest weighted Toorak Handicap nominees are then the Mark Kavanagh-trained December Draw (57kg), Group 1 winning WA-expat Luckygray (57kg) and recent Memsie Stakes runner-up Ferlax (56.5kg) out to improve on their seventh in the Sir Rupert with the same weight.
The new minimum weight now sits at 54.5kg which a number of livewire chances have been allocated including French raider Trevieres, the Markus Nigge-trained chestnut coming off some imposing form back home.
Trevieres was a third acceptor for both the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 19 as well as Moonee Valley’s $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) the following Saturday today with their Toorak performance to determine where to next.
Other notable Toorak Handicap fancies and their amended weights include the David Hayes-trained Bass Strait (54.5kg) and the in-form Speediness (56kg) who won the Scone Cup in May, the Bobbie Lewis Quality first-up in September and then finishing a brave fourth in the Sir Rupert.
All the Caulfield Cup Day final fields are due out tomorrow and will be published right here at Races.com.au.
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