The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Jockey Jye McNeil gave the favourite I’m Thunderstruck an absolutely incredible ride to win the Toorak Handicap 2021 on Caulfield Guineas Day ahead of the four-year-old’s trip to Sydney for the $7.5 million Golden Eagle.
The Mick Price & Michael Kent Jnr-trained Shocking four-year-old was well-backed second-up in the Group 1 $1 million Toorak Handicap (1600m) after his luckless third last time out at the track in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m).
Things didn’t go exactly to plan in the Toorak either with McNeil having to produce an amazing ride to get the horse home in a hugely gutsy performance.
Caught for room and bumped around a number of times throughout, I’m Thunderstruck couldn’t get out in clear running.
Instead he had to drive through the field, waiting for the run into the home straight, and then charging home the closing stages in a big finish.
The favourite was off the rails wide throughout midfield as Second Slip led the Toorak field around.
He was behind a wall of horses approaching the turn, but McNeil would not give up and continued to find and the horse finally got out.
Also bursting through inside the final 100m was the brave Michael Moroney-trained top weighted Ocean Park mare Tofane, winner of the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap – Tattersall’s Tiara double in Brisbane over the winter, carrying 58kg to I’m Thunderstruck’s 52kg.
Those two went stride for stride before I’m Thunderstruck finished hard and won from Tofane, while Superstorm was excellent late from well back running third in the Toorak Handicap trifecta for the second year in a row.
I’m Thunderstruck became the seventh Toorak Handicap winner to come from the Sir Rupert Clarke in 11 years and handed McNeil his fourth Group 1 success, the jockey’s first outside of Flemington.
“It was so good,” co-trainer Michael Kent Jnr told the media after the race.
“It was a tough race to watch. He never got a moment’s rest. A big effort by the horse.
“For him to keep fighting as a young, inexperienced horse was a massive effort.
“Hopefully he pulls up well. Now we’ve got three weeks until the Golden Eagle.”
The $7.5 million Golden Eagle (1500m) for four-year-olds is run and won at Rosehill Gardens on October 30.
2021 Toorak Handicap Results & Finishing Order
|1||11||I’M THUNDERSTRUCK (NZ)||Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)||Jye McNeil||4||52kg||$3.20F|
|2||1||TOFANE (NZ)||Michael Moroney||Craig Williams||0.75L||3||58kg||$11|
|3||2||SUPERSTORM||Danny O’Brien||Damien Oliver||1.5L||9||56.5kg||$9.50|
|4||8||QUANTUM MECHANIC||Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)||Craig Newitt||2L||6||52.5kg||$51|
|5||14||EMBOLISM||Danny O’Brien||Damien Thornton||2.5L||7||52kg||$16|
|6||5||LUNAR FOX||Paul Preusker||Brett Prebble||2.9L||12||54kg||$31|
|7||13||SECOND SLIP (NZ)||Will Clarken||Ms Linda Meech||3.4L||2||52kg||$15|
|8||4||ELEPHANT (NZ)||Emma-Lee & David Browne||Damian Lane||3.8L||5||55.5kg||$4.40|
|9||12||SO YOU ASSUME||Shane Nichols||Dean Yendall||3.9L||8||52kg||$31|
|10||10||IRISH FLAME (NZ)||Brett Scott||Matthew Cartwright (a)||9.9L||11||52kg||$91|
|11||6||DICE ROLL (FR)||Nick Ryan||Fred Kersley||14.9L||1||53.5kg||$8|
|12||3||SIERRA SUE (NZ)||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Daniel Moor||49.9L||10||56kg||$17|
|7||HARBOUR VIEWS (FR)||Matthew Williams||Michael Dee||0|
|9||AYSAR||Ben & JD Hayes||Harry Coffey||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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