Smerdon Open to Toorak Handicap Target for Oak Door

September 8, 2017

Smerdon Open to Toorak Handicap Target for Oak Door

Victorian horseman Robert Smerdon is plotting a path to next month’s 2017 Toorak Handicap with his smart entire Oak Door, but that probably won’t include a Moonee Valley run this weekend.  

Oak Door is likely to target the Group 1 Toorak Handicap this season. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos

Oak Door is likely to target the Group 1 Toorak Handicap this season. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos

Commands four-year-old Oak Door holds an acceptance for Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes Day on Saturday, but could bypass the meeting to avoid a clash with star Japanese import Brave Smash 

Now prepared by the powerhouse Darren Weir stable, Tosen Phantom stallion Brave Smash is odds-on favourite at $1.60 through Ladbrokes.com.au to win the Listed $120,000 Strathmore Community Bendigo Bank Stakes (1200m) at the Valley.  

Nominated for a clash with heroic mare Winx in the 2017 Ladbrokes Cox Plate on October 28 at the track, as well as attracting the eye of a number of The Everest slot holders for Randwick’s $10 million Restricted feature on October 14, Weir’s five-year-old is second-up down under.  

Brave Smash kicked off his Australian career with an eye-catching second to Vega Magic in Caulfield’s Listed Regal Roller Stakes (1200m) three weeks back. 

The Lindsay Park-trained Vega Magic franked that form winning the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) last weekend in a run that has the former Perth galloper in 2017 The Everest contention also.  

That stacks up well for Brave Smash this weekend, and has scared Smerdon off from confirming Oak Door as a runner in the same race.  

“We are still weighing up whether we run on Saturday or go on another path as Brave Smash looks a tough nut to crack,” Smerdon told Racing Victoria on Thursday.  

“He’d [Oak Door would] run well on Saturday and you are never going to get an easy race at this time of year, but we might just be able to place him a little better and step around a horse like Brave Smash.”  

Striking black galloper Oak Door has had 15 runs to date for five wins including the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield in February. 

He was far from disgraced next-up when under three lengths beaten by Hey Doc to finish ninth in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) during his three-year-old season.  

Oak Door had two unplaced winter runs, but was back in winning form getting a confidence booster on the board at Moonee Valley on August 26 in a Benchmark 90.  

Smerdon said they could lean towards a run Saturday week instead at Flemington in the Group 2 $200,000 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) with Oak Door, but that stablemate Redlas would likely still represent the stable.  

“Ordinarily, it would be a good race for him,” Smerdon said of Redlas, a $31 outsider in betting.  

“He loves Moonee Valley. He’s ready to run well, but again he’s got to deal with a horse that’s probably better than Listed grade so he’s there to run well, but we’re probably looking at a minor placing.” 

Smerdon meanwhile has a very high opinion of Oak Door and hopes to get him into the Group 1 $500,000 Toorak Handicap (1600m) field at Caulfield Racecourse in Melbourne on the same day The Everest runs in Sydney.  

To back your spring racing selections over the coming weeks at the best odds head to our preferred online sportsbook Ladbrokes.com.au today.  

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