Punters have quickly stepped in to support Trust In A Gust’s bid for a second Group 1 victory, taking the early $8.00 offered by betting operators who have trimmed his price to $6.00 which sees him vying for favouritism with Solicit ($6.00) and Arabian Gold ($5.50). Include Bullpoint – good last start in the Rupert Clark at $7.00 and smart mare Commanding Jewel, who’ll be ridden by Corey Brown, winner of the 2012 edition aboard Solzhenitsyn, at $8.00 and you have a typically tough Toorak Handicap to asses. A quick look at the recent history of the race reveals two key facts. Three of the last four winners have carried 58kgs (Solzhenitsyn, More Joyous and King Mufhasa) whilst five of the last six victors, have drawn seven or better.
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1. GUEST OF HONOUR – D Oliver (1) 58kgs
Overseas galloper from the Marco Botti camp who has won two of his three starts this year including his most recent outing, back in July, the G2 Summer Mile (1600m). Trainer has had plenty of experience and success bringing horses to Australia in recent years but ideally, would’ve have seen him draw away from the fence in a big field when having his first local start.
2. SPEEDINESS – J Bowman (3) 57.5kgs
He was finishing his race of nicely first up in the G3 Bobbie Lewis (1200m) before a disappointing effort in the G1 Rupert Clark Stakes (1400m) a fortnight ago. As expected, he drifted back in the field from a wide gate but didn’t offer anything in the run, finishing second to last in the field of fourteen, 7.5 lengths behind Trust In Gust. Ran fourth in this race off a much better effort in the Rupert Clark but his overall record is strong and with a good gate and jock here, he can bounce back.
3. COMMANDING JEWEL – C Brown (10) 56.5kgs
A strong win second up in the G2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) saw the 5yo mare installed the odds-on favourite for her next and most recent start, the G2 Stock Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley. She sat outside of leader Solicit in the run but was under pressure turning for home and battled on to finish third (1.9 lengths) behind Dear Demi. Takes on an Open class Group 1 for the first time here and only gets a half-kilo less than her last outing.
4. TRUST IN A GUST – B Rawiller (11) 56.5kgs
Gave trainer Darren Weir his first Victorian Group 1 last start when fighting back to defeat the in-form Dissident in the G1 Rupert Clark Stakes (1400m). That was his third win from four starts this prep and the 4yo stallion by Keep The Faith has only missed a top four finish once in his sixteen start career. Up 4.5kgs on the Rupert Clark and drawn a little more awkwardly but is motoring along nicely at the moment and cannot be left out.
5. ATLANTE – K McEvoy (8) 54.5kgs
She scored a determined win first up in the Listed Drummond Golf Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley, defeating Trust In Gust by a lip, before also contesting the G1 Rupert Clark Stakes. The Hawkes Racing mare was awkwardly placed heading into the turn, back near last and on the fence, and suffered interference at the 200m when looking for a run. Forget that run, she can bounce back here.
6. BULL POINT – J Cassidy (2) 54.5kgs
The son of Fastnet Rock has run into some in-form gallopers at each of his three runs back but applied himself well in each event. First up he ran second Terravista in the G2 Show County and then found Cluster a shade too strong in the G2 Theo Marks. Settled midfield in the Rupert Clark at this most recent start and had to work for his run rounding the turn. When in the clear, he finished well to run third (1.9 lengths) behind Trust In Gust and Dissident. Well settled closer to the speed again from two, is at his peak now and form this time in is rock solid.
7. ARABIAN GOLD – C Williams (13) 54kgs
Returned to racing off a fifteen week break with a smart win in the G3 Golden Pendant (1400m) at Rosehill a fortnight ago. From an inside draw she settled on the leader’s back before taking an inside run over the last furlong and going on to defeat Catkins by half a length. Looks set for a good campaign but may find this difficult second up, from a wide gate.
8. SOLICIT – C Newitt (14) 53.5kgs
Blew like a gale in betting first up in the G3 Let’s Elope Stakes (7/1 out to 7/1) and ran accordingly, weakening from her leading position in the run home to finish seventh (2.5 lengths) behind Commanding Jewel. She was much better, again when leading, at her next and most recent start in the G2 Stock Stakes (1400m) at Moonee Valley. She was allowed to set her own pace out in front and was only out-bobbed on the line by Dear Demi, who has been very good in each of her three runs back from a spell. Mixed it with the top 3yo fillies last seasons but in Open company now, from a horror draw, would prefer to see how she measures up.
9. RECITE – S Baster (15) 53kgs
A 4yo New Zealand galloper who had won six of her twelve starts at the end of her 3yo season including a win over Puccini in the in the G1 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham. The daughter of Darci Brahma has had two starts this season, recording a disappointing last of fourteen first up before an improved third (0.7 lengths) in an Open Handicap over 1200m three weeks ago. That form, combined with the outside gate, will not be good enough for her to be winning here.
10. AKAVOROUN – M Payne (13) 53kgs
Finished his last prep with three wins from four starts, including the Listed Winter Championship where he defeated The Cleaner. Upon his return to racing he has contested some better class races and has performed credibly in both. He came from last to run sixth (3.2 lengths) behind impressive winner Chatauqua in the Bobbie Lewis before finishing seventh (3.8 lengths) in the Rupert Clark. He was caught a little deep midfield last start but battled on bravely in the run home however, he won’t get an easy run either from a wide gate here.
11. LATE CHARGE – G Boss (7) 53kgs
Big effort after running wide for most of the race, to score a narrow victory in the Listed Sofitel Stakes (1400m) at Flemington two starts back before settling midfield and getting his chance in the Rupert Clark Stakes (1400m) last start. Finished three lengths behind the winner Trust And Gust and whilst he meets him better again at the weights, he is yet to run a place in four races, all lesser quality than this one, over a mile.
12. RHYTHM TO SPARE – D Dunn (9) 53kgs
He was well supported when first up in The Sofitel Stakes (1400m), firming from 15/2 into 9/2, but could only hold is spot in the run to the line, finishing fifth (2.1 lengths) behind Late Charge. The 5yo by Pins then stepped out in the Rupert Clark Stakes (1400m) where he found himself four back on the fence as they turned for home. He got off and onto the back of a couple moving forward but was able to improve his position and finished ninth (5.4 lengths). Needed to produce more than he has at both of the above runs before being considered among the better chances here.
13. ESCADO – (4) 53kgs
Belied his odds of 60/1 when running a good fourth (2 lengths) behind Late Charge in the Listed Sofitel (1400m) first up, closing from well back in the field. He then was doing his best work again in the Listed Tavern Stakes (1400m) last week, running sixth to Under The Louvre. Ticking over nicely for trainer Matt Laurie and although he may have a handy race in him somewhere over the carnival, can’t see this Group 1 being it.
14. DESERT JEUNEY – J Winks (1) 53kgs
It’s been over a year and ten runs now since this 5yo galloper last saluted. Wide barriers in his most two recent races, where he finished sixth of fifteen behind Late Charge in the Listed The Sofitel and third to Another Prelate in an Open class at Moonee Valley, haven’t been ideal and his form is probably better than it reads on paper however, still not good enough to be winning a Group 1.
15. TRISTRAM’S SUN – (6) 53kgs
The winner of three of his last seven starts, the Robbie Laing trained galloper has been working through his grades nicely over the past few months. He did well, off a five week break, to run three quarters of a length behind the handy Hosting last start in a BM 90 (1300m) but faces a steep step up in competition here.
Pace here will be set by Solicit with Trust In A Gust coming over with Recite who has drawn the widest gate and possibly Commanding Jewel. Several to choose from here but going with Bull Point on top.
Liked his finishing effort last start in the Rupert Clark and he has met, and competed well against, some top performers this campaign. Hoping that from two he doesn’t get too far back and a touch of luck comes his way at the top of the straight. Atlante is drawn well in eight and should be able to make her own luck from there. Forget last start where she found trouble and the $10 is good eachway value.
- BULL POINT
- TRUST IN A GUST
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