The 2015 Toorak Handicap field has been released and a capacity field of 18 horses are set to contest the Group 1 event at Caulfield on Saturday.
Darren Weir completed the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes/Toorak Handicap double with Trust In A Gust 12 months ago and he has the chance to do the same with Stratum Star in 2015.
Stratum Star started his 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a fast-finishing seventh in the Listed Regal Roller Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on August 15 and he was only narrowly denied a maiden Group 1 win in the Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 29, but there was no denying him in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at the same venue on September 26.
The Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes is always the major lead-up race to the Toorak Handicap and that will be no exception in 2015 as Stratum Star is set to take on the likes of Disposition (barrier seven), Strawberry Boy (barrier 16), Lucky Hussler (barrier four), Abidewithme (barrier 11), Leebaz (barrier 12), Hopfgarten (barrier one) and Amicus (barrier 17) in the Toorak Handicap again this weekend.
One horse that is set to take a different form line into the Toorak Handicap is imported mare Noble Protector, who has not been seen at the races for a month.
Noble Protector was touted as a Cox Plate contender when she produced three impressive performances during her autumn campaign, but she failed to fire when she returned to the races in the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on September 12.
Trainer Robert Smerdon elected not to run Noble Protector in the Group 2 Stocks Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley last weekend and he instead gave her a barrier trial over 1190 metres at Cranbourne on October 5.
Outside of Stratum Star, the only other last start winner in the 2015 Toorak Handicap field is Kenjorwood, who has gone to another level during his 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign.
Kenjorwood finished a close fourth behind The United States in the Sweeney Estate Agents Handicap (1500m) at Moonee Valley on August 22 and he finished a brave fourth in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 5 before he returned to winning form with a very tough win in The Cup Club Handicap (1700m) at Caulfield on September 26.
The 2015 Toorak Handicap field is rounded out by Ninth Legion (barrier five), Puccini (barrier three), Flamingo Star (barrier 14), Hi World (barrier 13), Jacquinot Bay (barrier 18), Akavoroun (barrier 15), Rhythm To Spare (barrier 10) and Moonovermanhattan (barrier eight).
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