Guy Walter-trained Toydini has stamped himself as a leading contender for the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) with a fast-finishing victory in the Group 3 Cameron Handicap(1500m) at Newcastle today.
Toydini was caught wide in the early stages of the race, after jumping from barrier fifteen, but managed to settle nicely and responded brilliantly when asked for an extra effort by jockey Blake Shinn.
That’s A Good Idea set a quick pace and kicked away when the field entered the straight, before tiring badly with 200 metres left to run, and it looked like Peter Moody-trained High Esteem was going to race away from the rest of the field but Toydini appeared on the scene with a well-timed run down the middle of the track to record a comfortable win from High Esteem and Scream Machine.
Walter elected to target the Cameron Handicap, rather than the Group 2 Sebring Theo Marks Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, in order to give Toydini the best possible lead-up to the Epsom Handicap and he will now going into the $500,000 race at Royal Randwick on October 5 as one of the favourites.
“The two-and-a-half weeks going into the Epsom is ideal, he wants at least that,” Walter said.
“We also thought the 1500m would suit him better than the 1400m in the Theo Marks, which was our thinking.”
Toydini will have plenty of opportunities to win a maiden Group 1 during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, with the Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day and the Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on the final day of the 2013 Melbourne Cup carnival also on the agenda.
The son of Bernardini will need to defy history to win the Epsom Handicap, with Gai Waterhouse-trained Excellerator the only horse to ever win the Cameron Handicap/Epsom Handicap double.
Walter is not worried about the history of the Epsom Handicap and believes Toydini is an excellent chance to give him his first ever win in the time-honored race.
“Well, records are made to be broken,” the veteran trainer said.