Trainer Guy Walter is going into Saturday’s Group 1 $500,000 The Star Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick in the enviable position of having two of the top chances in Toydini and Streama.
And Walter is reluctant to split the pair, both last start winners, declaring that both are in prime condition and are certain to figure in the finish.
“You have a proven multiple Group 1-winning mare in Streama who is coming off a weight-for-age win in the George Main and dropping in weight into the Epsom,’’ Walter told The Daily Telegraph.
“Toydini is an up-and-coming horse who won the Cameron last start and is also dropping a lot in weight. It’s hard to see what his limit is because he’s a horse on the improve.
“All I can say is that I’m confident both will run well but the barrier draw will be crucial. The whole complexion of the race can chance with the barrier draw.’’
Toydini cemented his position at the head of the market order after gaining a spot in the Epsom by winning the Group 3 $150,000 Summer Bright Lager Cameron Handicap (1500m) at Newcastle on September 18.
While Streama scored her third Group 1 win last start by beating Royal Descent in the Group 1 $350,000 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 21.
In-form rider Blake Shinn has ridden both horses at their last start wins and has picked Toydini as his Epsom Handicap mount.
Shinn’s riding weight is 54kg and he was prepared to forfeit the ride on Toydini even after the four year old’s weight went up to 53kg after being penalised 1kg for his win in the Cameron Handicap, but with the withdrawal of Shoot Out, who was handicapped with the top weight of 58kg, the weights will be raised 1kg at acceptance time enabling him to take the ride.
Hugh Bowman will be back aboard Streama, who will carry 54.5kg, and will be looking for his third Group 1 victory on the classy mare after the pair took out the 2011 $400,000 Flight Stakes (1600m) and the 2012 $550,000 Patinack Farm Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick.
Walter has always held a high opinion of Toydini and said he deserves to have his chance at a Group 1 race after racing in outstanding form.
“He’s developing into an outstanding horse, and his last five runs he’s been able to win the Phar Lap Stakes, the Carbine Club and now the Cameron,” Walter said.
The Epsom Handicap market order sees Toydini at the top of the list at $4.60, just in front of Chris Waller’s last start Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap winner Boban at $5 with Streama close on their heels at $6.
Last year’s Doncaster Mile winner Sacred Falls is next in the betting at $11 with stablemate Riva De Lago and Melbourne galloper Rekindled Interest at $17.