Guy Walter remains optimistic about Toydini’s chances in the Cameron Handicap at Newcastle despite the barrier draw going against him.
The four-year-old has drawn gate 15 of 18 but will come in two spots if the emergencies don’t run on Wednesday.
The $150,000 Cameron (1500m) is an important lead-up in Toydini’s preparation for the Epsom Handicap (1600m) on October 5 in which he will carry the limit weight of 52kg.
“He is going to need some luck form the wide barrier but he’s still running,” Walter said.
“Newcastle is a nice big wide track so that helps.
“I’ll leave it to Blake (Shinn). He’ll know what to do.”
Toydini is the second favourite at $5.50 for the Cameron behind the Gai Waterhouse-trained Spurtonic ($4) with the winner exempt from any ballot on the Epsom but still eligible for a weight penalty.
Group wins over 1500m and 1600m during the autumn prompted Walter to step Toydini up to 2000m in the Frank Packer Plate in which he finished fourth, raising doubts in the trainer’s mind whether that distance was beyond him.
Walter is still uncertain but has entered him in the Cox Plate in case he proves him wrong.
But first he would like nothing more than to see him go one better in the Epsom than Toydini’s mother Johan’s Toy who finished second to Desert War in 2005.
Toydini hasn’t raced since his eye-catching fifth in the Warwick Stakes on August 24 when he finished two lengths from Veyron who edged the Walter-trained Streama out of first.
Spurtonic goes into the race after three successive wins and will be coming back in distance from 2000m.
The other feature on the first day of the Newcastle meeting is the Spring Stakes for three-year-olds in which Wordplay is one of two fillies taking on the colts and geldings.
Trained by Anthony Cummings, Wordplay is a half-sister to 2012 Victoria Derby winner Fiveandahalfstar and she is on a path to Classic glory this spring.
“The idea is to get her to the Oaks in Melbourne,” Cummings said.
“She’s in the Spring Champion Stakes and the Thousand Guineas and we’ll talk about which way she goes after Newcastle.”