Talented mare Arabian Gold is on track for the 2014 Toorak Handicap after she impressed onlookers with a strong piece of trackwork at Flemington this morning.
Arabian Gold was the star attraction at Flemington trackwork this morning and she worked impressively over 1200 metres in a performance that satisfied leading hoop Craig Williams, who will ride the mare in the Toorak Handicap on Saturday, as well as trainer David Vandyke.
“She took a couple of days just to get over the run, which she normally does, but she travelled down well and she is comfortable and happy at Flemington,” Vandyke told Racing Ahead.
“Craig Williams rode her in her gallop this morning on the outside of the course proper and Craig was happy, the mare was happy, so I was happy.
“She went three quarter from the 1200 and was asked to do her last 600 in 37.”
Arabian Gold returned to the races in the Group 3 Golden Pendant (1400m) and she produced an outstanding performance to upset Catkins and stamp herself as a genuine Toorak Handicap contender.
The victory was the first first-up win for Arabian Gold during her racing career to date and Vandyke is confident that the Dubawi mare still has plenty of improvement in front of her as she heads further into her 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign.
“She has always been a bit weak first-up and it was just great to see her so dominant really,” Vandyke said.
“She was just full of running hitting the line and 100 metres past the line she was three lengths in front of the rest and had her ears pricked.
“That was the sign I was looking for and I said to Blake before the race to look after her – her main mission will be second and third up, so we wanted her to come through her first-up run in good shape.
“That is what he did, he just sat behind Catkins and waited.
“Fortunately the split came and she rattled off very tidy sectionals to win that and I am just trying to keep her on the fresh side so that she can do the same on Saturday.”
The weights for the Toorak Handicap were released yesterday and Arabian Gold is set to carry 54 kilograms, while imported galloper Guest Of Honour will carry the top weight of 58 kilograms in his Australian racing debut.
Vandyke said that he had no complaints with the weight allocated to Arabian Gold for the Toorak Handicap and he is confident that the four-year-old is a genuine chance of recording her maiden win at Group 1 level.
“Originally we thought that she was going to get 52 and a half to 53, but I think a couple of the Europeans and better performed horses didn’t nominate, which raised the weights and gave her 54,” Vandyke said.
“I am happy with 54 and I think that is a weight she can go around and win with.
“She would have to win or be desperately unlucky in the Toorak because to get into the Cox Plate she has to win on Saturday.”
Vandyke will be having his first runner in the Toorak Handicap, while Craig Williams is chasing his second win in the Group 1 event after taking out the 2005 edition of the race with Barely A Moment.