An impressive jumpout win has the connections of top sprinter Toorak Toff buoyant about his prospects in Saturday’s $1 million Newmarket Handicap at Flemington.
The Rick Hore-Lacy-trained four-year-old, ridden by race jockey Damien Oliver, ran 46.88 seconds in beating Waratah’s Secret, Emerald Downs and Rock Classic in the second of two 800m trials.
Toorak Toff had a 1-1/2-length gap on his rivals in the trial in which they came home the last 400m in 21.57s.
The first of the heats was dominated by the John O’Shea-trained Foxwedge, ridden by Craig Williams, who won by two lengths from Metallurgical, Group One Emirates Stakes winner Albert The Fat and comeback galloper Mr Chard.
The Fastnet Rock three-year-old colt ran 47.63s with the last 400m in 21.78s.
Toorak Toff will be attempting a rare feat in the 1200m Group One feature, trying to win the race first-up from a spell.
A dual Group One winner over 1400m, Toorak Toff will race in the red and white colours of Rosemont Stud after owner Anthony Mithen acquired a controlling interest in the horse.
“It was always our intention (to run him in the Newmarket first-up),” Mithen said.
“We’ve had lots of discussions about the horse and I think the jury has spoken and said this horse is best fresh and he’s a sprinting horse.
“I think he proved that to all of us in the spring. We tried him over a mile (1600m) a couple of times and he doesn’t stretch out that far.
“He’s a precocious Aussie sprinter and that’s why we are pretty excited to have him come to us at stud come September.
“It’s exciting times ahead and Saturday could be a crowning moment in his career.”
Toorak Toff will stand next season alongside Golden Slipper winner Danzero who stood his first year at Rosemont at Ceres near Geelong.
Mithen said depending on how Toorak Toff performed in the Newmarket he could go to England and take on Black Caviar in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1200m) at Royal Ascot on June 23.
A win there would greatly enhance his appeal as a shuttle stallion.
There are also options for him in Sydney, the $1 million TJ Smith (1200m) on April 14 and the All-Aged Stakes (1400m) on April 28, both at Randwick.
Mithen engaged Oliver who shares the record as the most successful Newmarket jockey with Harry White, Athol Mulley and Harold Badger with three wins.
Oliver won the race on Schillaci (1992), Toledo (2001) and Alinghi (2005).
The Rob Heathcote-trained pair, Lightning Stakes placegetter Buffering and Oakleigh Plate winner Woorim, galloped together down the Flemington straight course and finished on terms while the Fred Kersley-trained Grand Nirvana worked solo.