Bad luck derailed the spring campaign of one-time Cox Plate hopeful Torio’s Quest but connections still have their sights on a carnival prize.
The four-year-old is among acceptances for Saturday’s Group Three Tab.com.au Stakes (1400m) at Flemington and will take his place provided he pleases trainer Brett Partelle in a track gallop on Thursday.
A win would provide some consolation for connections who have endured a nightmare ride this spring.
The gelding was one of the fancied runners for the Shannon Stakes in Sydney but tossed rider Hugh Bowman on the way to the barriers, crashed into a running rail and was a late scratching.
“The wheels fell off that day,” Partelle said.
“He was spot-on going into the Shannon. No-one could have foreseen what would happen.
“He actually came out of it pretty well really, he only had a couple of little issues.”
So Partelle pressed on to Melbourne and the Group One Toorak Handicap (1600m) on October 8.
“I thought he was back to where I wanted him for the Toorak,” Partelle said.
But after getting revved-up in the mounting enclosure, Torio’s Quest got his tongue over the bit in the run and choked down, finishing last.
His Cox Plate dream over, Partelle re-evaluated.
“It’s been a constant battle and we’ve been chasing our tail,” Partelle said.
“He’s just been handed a really bad deal of cards.
“He is a very exciting horse and to have what happened in the Shannon then come down for the Toorak and have no luck, it just broke everyone’s hearts.”
The winner of the Magic Millions Guineas (1400m) in January, Torio’s Quest raised hopes of a lucrative spring with a dazzling four-length victory in the Queensland Guineas (1600m) in June.
He resumed with an encouraging second to Master Of Design in the Sebring Sprint (1300m) before his campaign went pear-shaped.
Bowman will be in the saddle on Saturday and if Torio’s Quest can put his best foot forward he will be in line to back-up seven days later in the Group One Emirates Stakes (1600m).