Toorak Toff will make his return to racing in this Sunday’s The Goodwood after undergoing an operation to correct his roaring problem.
Roaring, also known as laryngeal hemiplegia, is a condition that causes paralysis of 80% to 90% of the throat, a number that worsens during exercise.
The operation, which only has a 65% success rate, was designed to restore the airways that had collapsed on the left side of the throat.
Toorak Toff’s trainer, Rick Hore-Lacy, first noticed his talented young horse had a problem after he won the Golden Rose Stakes last August.
“He came back to scale after winning the Golden Rose blowing like a gale, which indicated he wasn’t fit,” Hore-Lacy said.
“But that didn’t make any sense.”
Despite being given the vet’s approval after the race, Toorak Toff’s condition slowly worsened.
“He was making a loud breathing noise which wasn’t a whistling noise,” Hore-Lacy said.
“He’d slowly deteriorated and after that I got him scoped again.”
While his first intentions were to sell Toorak Toff as a stallion prospect, the trainer soon realised that was the least profitable option.
“By the time I looked at the figure and worked out my net share, by the time I got paid I wouldn’t have had any money as I had spent it on yearlings,” he said.
“If I sold him I would have had no horse and no money. I thought I’d rather give him another chance to win stakemoney and if we got him right he would be worth more anyway.”
Hore-Lacy is now confident that Toorak Toff’s roaring days are behind him.
“He’s had two good jump outs at Caulfield and in his last one he defeated a smart horse,” he said.
“I know the operation can be hit and miss, but at this stage the evidence is there for me to believe it has been a success.”
The three-year-old has a perfect record at Morphettville Racecourse, where he will run in his first race since his operation on Sunday.
“He’s had two starts in Adelaide for two wins over 1200m,” Hore-Lacy said.
“I am sure he will run a big race.”