Tosen Stardom ($11)
The Toorak Handicap is the highlight race for milers during the Caulfield Cup Carnival. The Toorak is one of four Group Ones contested on Caulfield Guineas Day: the first day of the carnival.
Training a winner on Guineas day is always special, and why plenty of trainers ready their best milers to peak for the Toorak. As the race is run under handicap conditions, any horse has a realistic chance to win, making it a wide-open betting race.
While the $500,000 in prize money and prestige of Guineas Day make the Toorak a desirable race to win, some trainers also use the race as a dress-rehearsal for the more lucrative Canatala Stakes. The Cantala at Flemington racecourse is the premier mile race of the Melbourne spring carnival, and the grand final for many of the horses contesting the Toorak.
The 1,600 metre start at Caulfield only permits a minimal straight run before the horses hit the first turn. Therefore, jockeys with a wide draw have limited time to find cover, and why horses with an inside barrier have a pronounced advantage in this race.
Since it was first run back in 1881, some greats of Australian racing have claimed the honours. Galilee, Tobin Bronze and Leilani are among the horses that have completed the Toorak / Caulfield Cup double.
However, since no horse has managed this feat since Leilani's effort in 1974, the Toorak is no longer considered a lead-up race for the Caulfield Cup. This is despite the fact that the winner still earns an exemption from a ballot in the Caulfield Cup.
In 2017, the Darren Weir-trained Japanese import Tosen Stardom won after a strong run down the centre of the straight, after coming wide on the turn. Tosen Stardom was also carrying the top weight, making his win all the more impressive.