Phillip Stokes’ Sir John Monash Stakes winning...
Trainer Darren Weir’s stable foreman Jarrod McLean believes the team’s Blamey Stakes flop Tosen Stardom can bounce back to his best form heading to Sydney on Saturday for the 2018 Doncaster Mile.
Victoria’s premier horseman Weir will saddle-up the two highest-weighted horses in this weekend’s Group 1 $3 million Doncaster Mile (1600m) with Humidor (58kg) and Tosen Stardom (57.5kg) jumping from barriers four and eight respectively in the 16-starter field at Royal Randwick.
The duo both come off a run in Flemington’s Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) from March 17 with Humidor an impressive winner and Tosen Stardom finishing seven and a half-lengths back last in a still unexplainable failure.
The latest Doncaster Mile odds at Ladbrokes.com.au on the rematch reflect the two horse’s runs last time out with Humidor at $9 and Tosen Stardom a $26 roughie to atone.
McLean however has warned punters not to write off Deep Impact seven-year-old Tosen Stardom, the former Japanese-trained entire having shown no ill effects after the race and impressing the team since.
“Since his disappointing run in the Blamey, he came home and we’ve done every test possible,” McLean told Racing Victoria.
“We’ve vetted him, scoped him and had our muscle man go over him and he’s come through the run really well.
“We just put it down to one of those days – he’s a stallion and might have had an off day.
“Weiry’s convinced you’ve just got to come out neutral on him, let the race unfold and use him for his big finish late.
“The way he worked yesterday morning with [TJ Smith Stakes hopeful] Brave Smash, I’d be pretty confident we’ll see him bouncing back to form on Saturday.
“Obviously I’ve got a real soft spot for Humidor and he’s in exceptional order as well but Tosen Stardom, I probably put the curse on him at the start of the prep when I said he’d go through unbeaten and he hasn’t won in his three runs yet.”
Teofilo five-year-old Humidor meanwhile gets the blinkers back on as he looks to add to his stellar record over the mile distance that currently stands at four wins and a second from six starts.
It will be the first time he’s donned blinkers since the Kiwi expat gave the world’s best mare Winx a run for her money to finish second in the Group 1 Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley last October.
“He was obviously great first-up in the Group 1 [running fourth to Brave Smash in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes at Caulfield] and then he went to the Blamey with improvement to come,” McLean said.
“It was a slowly-run race and he was still able to get over the top of them.
“I convinced Weiry to put the blinkers on. He was more holding off for the Queen Elizabeth ([Stakes on April 14] but you go into the Queen Elizabeth taking on Winx, so why not try and win a Doncaster worth $3 million first.”
The weight will be the challenge for the dual Group 1 champion however with no Doncaster Mile winner having carried more than 57.5kg to victory since Sunline (58kg in 2002), but McLean is not all that worried about the kilos.
“The Doncaster is a race that’s typically won by a horse that is down in the weights but at 58 kilos, I think he’s well weighted and I think he’s good enough and sharp enough to win on Saturday,” he said.
“I think generally, he just looks better. He’s a bigger horse now – carrying a little bit more weight.
“He’s really developed now into a weight-for-age star I believe and I can’t wait for him to step out on Saturday.
“He’ll just come out neutral – like Tosen Stardom. Like the Cox Plate, we rode him to save ground and be strong late and this will be similar.
“He’ll be in the second half of the field and at some stage of the race he’s going to require luck but if Mark [Zahra] can negotiate the course and find clear running, I think he’ll be storming late.”
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