In a terrific Cox Plate Day win for trainer Guy Walter and connections the progressive Toydini ran an ideal Emirates Stakes lead-up for Melbourne Cup Carnival week taking out the $220,000 Group 2 Schweppes Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley today.
The up-and-coming Bernardini four-year-old jumped the $3.30 favourite for the Crystal Mile this afternoon, Toydini having run a devastatingly close third to Boban in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) in Sydney last time out.
Prior to that the galloper won the Group 3 Cameron Handicap (1500m) at Newcastle which was when Walter first started to look at them as a genuine contender for the $1 million Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday November 9.
“That’s the plan,” Walter said after the win when asked about going to the Emirates.
The Emirates Stakes now looks very much like Toydini’s to lose after their gritty effort in the Crystal Mile, the horse showing a real will to win.
A Group 1 success would be a dream for Walter and the horse’s owners who came close on a number of occasions with Toydini’s mother Johan’s Toy who only just lost the Doncaster Mile back in 2006 behind Racing To Win where she struck bad interference and should have won.
“I had his mother and she was just narrowly beaten in the Doncaster and the Epsom,” Walter said.
“I think he’s (Toydini is) only about a second or third foal (of hers).”
Owner – breeder Robert Bergstrom also remembers the hard luck story of Johan’s Toy and is enjoying the new chapter with Toydini.
“She should have won the Doncaster, she was so unlucky,” he said.
“Her son will move onto better things.
“It could be very interesting where he goes next time and of course Guy Walter is such a wonderful trainer.
“Guy knows the horse so well, he maps the program out so professionally and I think he’s got another race in mind (after this).”
Toydini was ridden by regular their jockey Blake Shinn who slotted them into a lovely position after balancing up sitting third or fourth last with Second Effort moving up to lead.
Others up front setting a blistering early pace included Rain Drum, Transporter and the flying Speediness, Colin Scott’s hope coming off two fourth place Group 1’s in the Rupert Clarke and then the Toorak last time out.
Nearing the 500m mark Second Effort still held their front position, while Speediness was travelling nicely in third.
Toydini then started to make their move ripping around the outside coming home hard around them.
On the straight Speediness grabbed the lead from Rain Drum who was starting to fade, the Chris Waller-trained Doncaster winner Sacred Falls also coming down the outside in a stellar run having missed the start by about a length and a half.
Shinn and Toydini then knuckled down and drove at them and just got there in the last possible stride to win in a photo from Speediness, who had every possible chance to win getting the split at the right time, and Sacred Falls who looks ready to win their next race.
“He’s a lovely horse and he ran very well in the Epsom,” Walter said.
“He wanted to win, I was impressed with him.”
There was only about a neck in the Crystal Mile trifecta, the best three on paper running top three on the day proving the form from the Epsom to be top class as Sacred Falls also came via the Randwick race having ran eighth.
“I absolutely love this horse,” Shinn said of Toydini.
“I think this horse has the potential to win a Group 1.”
Toydini’s sweeping win and brave effort in the Crystal Mile is not only top form for the upcoming Emirates but makes them a horse to watch out for in the autumn’s weight-for-age features too.
“He’s progressive and relatively lightly raced and I think he’s got better days ahead,” Walter said.