Superstar mare More Joyous has received an early favour with a barrier four draw for her attempt to score a ninth Group 1 win in the Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
The six-year-old will be chasing a seventh consecutive victory and will be the first horse to carry 60kg or more since Tauto who finished third in 1971 when carrying the equivalent of 61kg.
Her arrival in Melbourne has been overshadowed by stablemate Pierro but trainer Gai Waterhouse said yesterday she had hit the ground running.
“What an amazing mare she is,” Waterhouse wrote in her blog.
“She only got off the float some 24 hours prior so I did something a bit different and sent her around at three-quarter pace over 1200m.
“She’s such a wonderfully robust older horse.”
More Joyous’ main danger, 2011 winner King Mufhasa, has also drawn well in barrier two as has Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes placegetter Solzhenitsyn (3).
Eight-year-old King Mufhasa will carry 59.5kg, a 1.5kg rise from last year.
The Stephen McKee-trained gelding will be having his first Australian start of the spring after finishing fourth and first in two Group 1 events in New Zealand.
A total of 10 horses will contest the Toorak Handicap with other acceptors including 2011 Mackinnon Stakes winner Glass Harmonium and multiple Group 1 winner Yosei.
While the favourites drew well in the Toorak Handicap, those in the Group 1 (2000m) Caulfield Stakes were not so lucky.
Top chances Manighar (6) and Ocean Park (7) both drew wide with third favourite Sincero faring much better in barrier two.