2021 Toorak Handicap Runner By Runner Preview, Odds & Tips

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Thu 7th October 2021


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The Group One 1600m Toorak Handicap is upon us and 14 horses are set to face the starter under handicap conditions. Weights range from 58kg, with Tofane penalised with the heaviest load, to 52kg with six horses tasked with carrying the bottom weight in the race. This does seem like a weaker Group One, with only three having won at the level previously, but that is counteracted by plenty of speed, tactics and intent throughout the race.

This race sets itself up to be an important stepping stone for some of these horses on their way to greater heights later in the Spring Carnival, and there is no surprise to see Sportsbet holding I’m Thunderstruck $2.60 favourite for this race, as of Thursday afternoon, while also being $4.60 favourite for the $7.5M Golden Eagle later this month. 

Elephant is next in the market for the Toorak Handicap at odds of $5.50 and is targeting a Cox Plate berth with a good run with no other runner marked in single figures for the race at the time of writing!

The Toorak Handicap sets itself up as a very intriguing race and an important one for quaddies, being the third leg on Saturday. Knowing this, we have done the hard work for you so read on below to find our runner by runner preview of the 2021 Toorak Handicap.

1. Tofane (3) – $12
Jockey – Craig Williams
Trainer – Michael Moroney

She is the most decorated horse in the race but is penalised because of it, meaning she will have to re-write the history books in order to win. The 58kg she is tasked with carrying would be the equal-most for a mare to carry to victory in the Toorak Handicap but her run in the Makybe Diva Stakes, running fourth to Incentivise is incredible form and has shown she can run out a solid 1600m. 

2. Superstorm (10) – $12
Jockey – Damien Oliver
Trainer – Danny O’Brien

Superstorm was a touch flat in the Underwood Stakes two weeks ago, finishing third behind Zaaki and Probabeel. However, they are extremely talented horses and in the start before that the WA-raider won the 1600m Feehan to book his ticket into the Cox Plate. That form stacks up in a race like this and he is proven at 1600m but he has to give 4.5kg to the favourite. 

3. Sierra Sue (11) – $12
Jockey – Daniel Moor
Trainer – Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young

Impressive winner of the G1 Sir Rupert Clarke last start but has a couple of things against her here. She carries an extra 3.5kg here, while Dice Roll (0.1L 2nd) only increases 1.5kg and I’m Thunderstruck (0.6L 3rd) doesn’t increase at all for this race. There are some queries over her 1600m form but she arguably beats Superstorm and Elephant in the Feehan if she doesn’t get blocked as she was building up and should be right in this.

4. Elephant (5) – $5.50
Jockey – Damian Lane
Trainer – Emma-Lee & David Browne

Elephant just keeps on improving with every run and he looks to be right in this race. He has two wins and a second so far this prep, with the second coming to Superstorm in the Feehan but he gets 1kg weight-swing in his favour in that matchup. Combine that with the fact that he has put in a better rating performance in his run since then, while Superstorm’s performance rating plateaued in his, and Elephant looks to be on an upward spiral with this the next race for him to conquer. 

5. Lunar Fox (13) – $51
Jockey – Brett Prebble
Trainer – Paul Preusker

While he surprised all with a win in the 1600m G1 Australian Guineas last prep, there shouldn’t be too many surprises here. Is penalised for that win, being 2kg above the bottom weight for this race and given he has just three wins and a second from 17 career starts, he won’t be up to it here.

6. Dice Roll (1) – $11
Jockey – Fred Kersley
Trainer – Nick Ryan

Is a better fresh horse but has serious claims in this race. Finished 0.1L second to Sierra Sue in the Sir Rupert Clarke but gets a 2kg weight swing in his favour. While he has a 1.5kg weight swing against him compared to I’m Thunderstruck, who was 0.5L behind him in third, he has a win and two thirds from five runs at 1600m, meaning the trip is no worry. Any give in the ground will be appreciated. 

7. Harbour Views (14) – $34
Jockey – Michael Dee
Trainer – Matthew Williams

Couldn’t have asked for much more first up when storming home to win the listed The Sofitel and while he remained ahead of Cherry Tortoni second up in the Sandown Stakes, he was still 3.25L back from Elephant. However, lots of positives for him here – he gets a 1.5kg weight swing in his favour compared to Elephant, has run top two in all three of his third up runs and has run top three in all five of his runs at the distance. 

8. Quantum Mechanic (6) – $27
Jockey – Craig Newitt
Trainer – Mick Price & Michael Kent Jnr

Ran much better second up in the Stocks Stakes two weeks ago but does that form stack up here? She finished 1.6L behind So You Assume in that race and has the same weight differential in this race. She only has two third placings from three third up runs but is a genuine miler. Not a winning chance but could put in a good effort. 

9. Aysar (7) – $34
Jockey – Harry Coffey
Trainer – Ben & JD Hayes

Was just one length back in fourth in the Sir Rupert Clarke, proving he has the form to match up with some of the more fancied types in this race but is on the quick back up after a poor run last week. He did have to carry 59.5kg last week and only has 52kg here, the same as in the Sir Rupert Clarke, but he hasn’t finished better than fourth in each of his last five runs. 

10. Irish Flame (12) – $101
Jockey – Michael Cartwright
Trainer – Brett Scott

The tried and tested seven-year-old gelding has won 20% of his career races, has won third up and has won twice at the distance but would need everything in his favour, especially from out wide. 

11. I’m Thunderstruck (4) – $2.60
Jockey – Jye McNeil
Trainer – Mick Price & Michael Kent Jnr

I’m Thunderstruck doesn’t get a weight penalty from his 0.6L third in the Sir Rupert Clarke, where he jumped $4.20 favourite, and he arguably should have won the race. He copped a bad bump at the top of the straight and had to regain all of his momentum before storming home and almost getting there. Given those ahead of him are worse at the weights and he has a much better barrier here, he is the favourite for a reason.

12. So You Assume (9) – $20
Jockey – Dean Yendall
Trainer – Shane Nichols

A genuine jump, lead, win candidate that has won three straight and four of her last five, with three of those being over 1600m. She has made her way from BM64 grade to BM78 to BM84 to winning the G2 Stocks Stakes last start by 1.5 lengths and if there is a leader’s bias then she will take some catching.

13. Second Slip (2) – $16
Jockey – Linda Meech
Trainer – Will Clarken

Another low weight horse who likes being up the front and brings in some incredible form. Second Slip has had three runs this prep for two wins and a second and while this is a massive step up in class, he has run with 61kg, 59kg and 57.5kg this prep but only has 52kg here. Linda Meech is a great booking on a leader and will take some running down. 

14. Embolism (8) – $46
Jockey – Damien Thornton
Trainer – Danny O’Brien

Interesting decision to even have the gelding run here. Ran third in a BM78 last start and his only other top three finishes have been in worse grades than that. 

Final Word

A couple of things are working in favour of the favourite, I’m Thunderstruck for this race. The Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes is typically the best lead up race for the Toorak Handicap, producing six of the last eight winners. He gets a much better gate here (4) after jumping from 16 in the Sir Rupert Clarke and four-year-olds, which he is, have produced the most winners of the race since 2005. 

With all of that in mind, we still like Elephant to continue his upward trajectory on a potential path towards the Cox Plate. David Brown, his trainer, has stated that Elephant looks to be in the best condition he has ever been in leading into the race and his performance ratings have improved with every run he has had. He has gone from 95.8 first up to 98.2 in the Feehan to 101.5 two weeks ago in the Sandown Stakes and now carries the lightest weight he has all preparation in this race, dropping 3kg from his last start and 3.5kg from his narrow Feehan loss. 

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He makes his own luck by racing on the pace and has performed well on both good and soft tracks, so any rain in Melbourne should be no issue for the five-year-old gelding. At $5.50, he looks to be a much better play than I’m Thunderstruck at $2.60 and with Sportsbet offering bonus back up to 5th, you should be safe to either win or get a bonus back as a worst case scenario!

Best Toorak Handicap Tip: Elephant – Win ($5.50)

If you need more news, information and predictions, head over to our Toorak Handicap page for all your punting needs!

*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of Sportsbet.

Tim is a massive follower of Horse Racing, not only in Australia but around the world. Whether it be the champions of the Spring and Autumn Carnivals or following the form lines throughout winter, Tim always has an eye on everything racing. He attempts to get to every Saturday meet he can, with Turnbull Stakes Day at the home of racing, Flemington, being a stand-out! If you want a tipster that follows all form lines, ratings, conditions and weights, not just favourites, Tim is your guy.