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Toorak Handicap

The Toorak Handicap is the third Group 1 race being run at Caulfield on Caulfield Guineas day, the other two being the Guineas itself and the Yalumba Stakes (formerly known as the Caulfield Stakes). The 2016 event takes place on Saturday October 8th and is the first day of the three day Caulfield Spring Carnival. Over the three days there are no fewer than ten Group 1 races.

The Toorak Handicap is an open handicap run over 1,600 metres and carries prize money of $400,000. Supporting races on the day include the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes, run over 1,000 metres, and the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes which is over 2,400 metres. The Thousand Guineas (1,600 metres) is also on the Caulfield Guineas day race card.

Race History

The Toorak Handicap was first run in 1881 and won by a horse called Josephine. In 1891 the race distance was changed to 1,800 metres (nine furlongs), but reverted back to 1,600 the following year where it has remained ever since.

Over the years, the name has changed a few times as sponsors have come and gone. In 1981 it became The IXL. In 1985 it was known as The Elders Mile. Then in 1990 it was changed back to the Toorak Handicap.

In the 1930’s the Toorak Handicap had two dead heats. In 1935 it was won by Epigram and Journal, and then three years later, in 1938, Ena and El Golea were joint winners.

Toorak Handicap Betting

Interesting betting opportunities are available on the Toorak Handicap, not the least of which is to bet against the favourite. In 2008, Alamosa, the eventual winner drifted out to $11 in the last betting, while the favourite, Orange County, which was odds-on, finished ninth.

The following year, 2009, saw Allez Wonder start at $41 and go on to win, while Raheeb, the favourite – and starting at $5.50 – finished fourth.

There are several races that are run earlier in the Melbourne Spring Carnival that are used by trainers as a lead in to the Toorak Handicap. One of these is a Group 3 race, the Naturalism Stakes, run over 2,000 metres at Caulfield in September. The Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes is another race in which potential Toorak Handicap entrants take part, and is run three weeks beforehand.

Both Regal Roller, in 2005, and Barely A Moment the following year, 2006, achieved the Sir Rupert Clarke/Toorak Handicap double. Horses that do well in the Toorak Stakes may follow up by entering the Group 1 Myer Classic, and/or the Group 1 Emirates Stakes later in the Spring Carnival.