Big race jockey Craig Williams is set to ride last Saturday’s impressive Golden Pendant winner Arabian Gold in the Group 1 $400,000 David Jones NBCF Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 11.
Top Sydney jockey Blake Shinn was the regular rider for Arabian Gold during her successful Autumn and Winter campaigns earlier in the year and was aboard last Saturday when the Dubawi mare scored an emotional first up victory in the Group 3 $300,000 PJ’s Irish Pub Parramatta Golden Pendant (1400m) at Rosehill.
But Shinn had been booked to ride Gloaming Stakes winner Sweynesse in the Group 1 $400,000 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on the same day as the Toorak Handicap, opening the door for Williams.
Trainer David Vandyke was overcome with emotional to see his grey mare upstage race favourite Catkins in the Golden Pendant and said a Melbourne campaign was now planned with the Toorak Handicap being a stepping stone towards the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25.
Shinn was very upbeat about the Spring Carnival goals for Arabian Gold who was having her first run since running second to Tinto in the Group 1 $400,000 Treasury Casino & Hotel Queensland Oaks (2400m) at Eagle Farm during the Brisbane Winter Carnival.
Arabian Gold had won her three previous starts with victories in the Group 3 $200,000 TAB Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) and the Group 3 $150,000 Johnnie Walker Frank Packer Plate (2000m) both at Randwick before heading to Queensland to win the Group 2 $175,000 XXXX Gold The Roses (2000m) at Doomben before lining up in the Queensland Oaks.
“Onwards and upwards to the Spring Carnival,” Shinn said after the Golden Pendant win last Saturday.
“There is some obvious targets. The Toorak Handicap in a couple of weeks time, which is a race that I can’t ride her.”
“Today was a good stepping stone to see how she would come back on a path towards the Cox Plate and if that was any indication I think she is well on track.”
Arabian Gold has moved up the market order for the Cox Plate with Ladbrokes.com.au and is now an $18 chance alongside of Underwood Stakes winner Foreteller and Sweynesse.
The Peter Moody trained Dissident is marked as the equal favourite at $8 with last year’s Caulfield Cup winner Fawkner just ahead of the Chris Waller trained Sacred Falls and super Irish galloper Adelaide at $11.
Dissident has kept himself at the top of the Cox Plate market order with another first class performance last Sunday when under the impost of 58kgs was beaten a nose in the Group 1 $400,000 Bendigo Bank East Malvern Sir Rupert Clarke Charity Cup (1400m) at Caulfield by the Darren Weir trained Trust In A Gust who only had to carry the minimum weight of 52kgs.
Dissident had won his previous two outings at weight for age when he beat Sweet Idea in the Group 1 $400,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 30 and then beat Fawkner in the Group 1 $400,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 13.