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David Hayes believes he has a live Caulfield Cup hope in Bass Strait and will try to cement his place in the race via the Toorak Handicap.

Bass Strait scored a 1-1/2 length win in Sunday’s TMB Printing Handicap (1700m) on the back of a luckless fifth in the Group Two Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes at Moonee Valley at his previous start.

Bass Strit winning the TMB Printing Handicap at Caulfield - photo by Race Horse Photos Australia

Bass Strit winning the TMB Printing Handicap at Caulfield - photo by Race Horse Photos Australia

Hayes was originally looking at three options at Caulfield on October 12 for Bass Strait, unaware the four-year-old would gain a start in the Toorak (1600m) as a Caulfield Cup entrant.

The winner of the Toorak is exempt from ballot for the Caulfield Cup a week later.

Another option would have meant taking on Atlantic Jewel and It’s A Dundeel in the Caulfield Stakes at weight-for-age.

“He is an ideal Caulfield Cup horse with no weight,” Hayes said.

“He will go to the Toorak.”

Bass Strait was second over 1300m at Sandown first-up before finishing on the heels of the placegetters in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) second-up.

“Some good judges said he was a bit unlucky in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes and I agree,” Hayes said.

“I think he could have tested Fiorente or definitely run second, and I just love the way he joined in with the authority of a good horse today.”

Chad Schofield had Bass Strait, the $3.30 favourite, in a perfect spot just off the speed and he worked into the race nicely before sprinting clear in the straight.

He defeated Garud ($8.50) with Lord Durante ($10) another neck away third.

By Holy Roman Empire out of Zabeel mare Crystalline, Bass Strait is bred to stay and also holds and entry to the Melbourne Cup.

 
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