Guest Of Honour has been included in the 2014 Toorak Handicap field and will carry the top weight of 58 kilograms in the Group 1 event at Caulfield on Saturday.
Guest Of Honour has been a consistent performer at Group level in the United Kingdom over the past 18 months and he was purchased by Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock for a potential Cox Plate tilt after he took out the Group 2 Summer Mile Stakes (1609m) during the 2014 Royal Ascot Meeting.
Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock founder Darren Dance is still keen to run Guest Of Honour in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25, but admits that the Cape Cross entire would likely need to win the Toorak Handicap to be assured of a start.
A number of the horses in the Toorak Handicap field will be backing up from the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 28 and Trust In A Gust has the chance to become the first horse since Barely A Moment in 2005 to win both races in the same year.
Trust In A Gust carried the minimum weight of 52 kilograms to victory in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, but he has been allocated 56 and a half kilograms for the Toorak Handicap and he will meet the likes of Speediness (57.5kg), Atlante (54.5kg), Akavoroun (53kg) and Late Charge (53kg) worse in the weights from the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes.
Another horse that is taking winning form into the Toorak Handicap is talented mare Arabian Gold, who upset Catkins to take out the Group 3 Golden Pendant (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 27.
The win was Arabian Gold’s maiden first-up victory and trainer David Vandyke is confident that she can produce an ever better performance when she carries 54 kilograms in the Toorak Handicap, but jockey Craig Williams may need a bit of luck from barrier 13.
Solicit may also need a bit of luck in running after she was allocated barrier 14 in the Toorak Handicap barrier draw this morning.
The Street Cry mare resumed with a disappointing seventh place finish in the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on September 13, but returned to her best form with a second place finish in the Group 2 Stocks Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 26.
Commanding Jewel finished third behind Solicit in the Stocks Stakes and the Commands mare did not have a great deal of luck in the barrier draw for the Toorak Handicap and she will jump from gate ten.
Co-trainer Troy Corstens blamed the disappointing performance of Commanding Jewel in the Stocks Stakes on the fact that she was ridden so close to the speed and jockey Corey Brown has been instructed to ride the three-quarters sister to Atlantic Jewel quieter in the Toorak Handicap.
The Toorak Handicap field is rounded out by talented Kiwi mare Recite (barrier 15), Mike Moroney-trained Rhythm To Spare (barrier nine), Matt Laurie-trained Escado (barrier four), talented gelding Desert Jeuney (barrier one) and the consistent Tristram’s Sun (barrier six).