Luckygray Gets His Chance In The Toorak Handicap

Trainer Robert Smerdon believes that Luckygray has his best chance to record a maiden race win in Melbourne in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on Saturday.

Luckygray is chasing his third Group 1 victory in the Toorak Handicap at Caulfield on Saturday.

Luckygray is chasing his third Group 1 victory in the Toorak Handicap at Caulfield on Saturday. Photo by: Sarah Ebbett

Luckygray has recorded two wins from three starts over a mile, including the 2011 Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m), and Smerdon believes that the handicap conditions makes Saturday’s race the ideal target for the six-year-old.

“His record would say that 1600 metres is his best distance,” Smerdon told RSN.

“His second run at weight-for-age chasing Atlantic Jewel was out of his capabilities and coming back to handicap was always going to suit him.

“1600 metres under handicap conditions is what seems to suit him best and he really gets his chance.

“I am really happy with the horse, he is in great shape and I think what we see from the horse on Saturday will be the best of him.”

Luckygray returned to handicap conditions with a sixth place finish behind Rebel Dane in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) and Smerdon is confident that the Group 1 race will be the key form-guide to the Toorak Handicap this weekend.

Taking the Rupert Clarke from two weeks ago as the form line it is a very similar group of horses lining up,” Smerdon said.

“I thought that his run was good; there were some very good runs in the race.

Linton was terrific, from a wide gate he covered ground and wasn’t beaten far, and Speediness hit the line really well but he has drawn a bad gate and Caulfield seems to be a track where barriers have a major influence.

“They were the two horses out of the Rupert Clarke that I thought were the greats run coming into this and they are the two that I regard as very hard to beat.”

Luckygray will carry 57kg in the Toorak Handicap – just two and a half kilograms above the minimum after original top-weight King Mufhasa was not included in the acceptances.

“It is courtesy of King Mufhasa being in the original entries and everybody else was pushed down accordingly,” Smerdon said.

“Something has happened there to prevent him from accepting and the whole weight scale has gone up two and a half but we still have that compression factor caused by him being in the original entries.

“It is probably of benefit to those in the top of the weights and he is one of them.”

Smerdon will be having his first runner in the Toorak Handicap since Hofmeister finished eighth behind Regal Roller in the 2004 edition of the race.

About The Author

Thomas Hackett

Thomas is a passionate and opinionated racing journalist and punter who has been obsessed with horse racing since he backed Saintly to win the 1996 Melbourne Cup. An international racing enthusiast, he has his finger on the pulse of racing news not just from Australia but all around the world.

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