A midfield barrier draw for Bon Aurum will give him a great chance to claim back to back Group 1 wins when he steps out in the $500,000 IG Markets Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Bon Aurum settled just worse than midfield when he came with a great rush to win the Group 1 $500,000 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 24 and trainer Ciaron Maher can see Kerrin McEvoy giving the Bon Hoffa four year old a similar ride again from barrier seven in the thirteen horse Toorak Handicap field.
“Hopefully he can draw a similar gate to last time and sit in the same sort of spot. He seems to like that,” Maher said today before the barrier draw.
Maher said that Bon Aurum had come through the Sir Rupert Clarke run in great order and he was happy with the stallion’s work at Caulfield on Tuesday morning.
“He’s in great order,” Maher said.
“He goes out to the mile on his home track. There’s a lot to like about it.
“He galloped on the course proper at Caulfield on Tuesday morning and worked well. Similar to going into the last race.”
Maher has no worries about Bon Aurum stepping back up to 1600m even though he was unplaced from two attempts at the distance during his three year old season with a ninth in the Group 1 $1m Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield during the 2015 Melbourne Spring Carnival and a thirteenth in the Group 1 $750,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington during the Melbourne Autumn Carnival.
“He’s a more relaxed horse now, travels better and therefore he’s finishing off his races better,” Maher said.
“He was a bit aggressive as a three-year-old but he’s a more rounded horse now and probably in his best form.”
The Lindsay Park trained He’s Our Rokkii is also racing in great form and has a great chance to win his fifth race on the trot after drawing the pole position.
Top Melbourne jockey Dwayne Dunn is in the saddle again after partnering He’s Our Rokkii in his last seven starts, including his last four wins and the former Kiwi trained four year old is stepping up to Group 1 class in the Toorak Handicap after scoring an impressive win in the $90,000 Sheen Group Handicap (1400m) at Caulfield on September 17.
While He’s Our Rokkii can enjoy the comfort of drawing the rails, his stablemate Jacquinot Bay has to overcome the outside barrier with Damian Lane in the saddle.
Sydney’s leading trainer Chris Waller also has two runners and will saddle up Counterattack (barrier 8) for James McDonald and Craig Newitt will ride Cosmic Cube from gate eleven.
Melbourne’s premiership winning trainer Darren Weir also has a strong hand and will leg up Craig Williams onto Japanese import Tosen Stardom who will jump from gate twelve and Mark Zahra will ride the stablemate Royal Rapture (barrier 5) who is going for his sixth win on the trot.
Even though He’s Our Rokkii is taking a giant step up in class, the bookies at Ladbrokes.com.au have him listed as the $4 favourite for the Toorak Handicap just ahead of Bon Aurum at $5.50 and Tosen Stardom at $6.50.
Market order for the Toorak Handicap at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4 He’s Our Rokkii, $5.50 Bon Aurum, $6.50 Tosen Stardom, $9 Counterattack, $11 Royal Rapture, $13 Tivaci, $14 Awesome Rock, $15 Moral Victory, $16 Thames Court, $21 Jacquinot Bay, Miss Rose De Lago, $26 Cosmic Cube, $31 Great Esteem.