Damien Oliver has partnered classy mare Egg Tart in a pleasing piece of work at Caulfield ahead of the Toorak Handicap in which the champion jockey will ride the dual Group One winner at a weight below his usual comfort zone.
The Chris Waller-trained dual Oaks winner Egg Tart travelled down to Melbourne last week after being forced to miss the Group One Epsom Handicap in Sydney on September 30 because of an eye irritation.
Instead the four-year-old is scheduled to have her second start of this spring in Saturday’s Group One Toorak (1600m) at Caulfield with Oliver booked to ride at 53.5kg.
Tuesday’s early morning hit-out on the course proper at Caulfield was Egg Tart’s first look around the course and she was paired with talented stablemate Omei Sword who is also entered for the Toorak.
Egg Tart was on the outside of Omei Sword and neither was put under pressure in the straight, with Oliver having a good hold of Egg Tart as she cruised to the line about half a length in front of her stablemate.
“She worked well,” Oliver said.
“She worked to the line nicely.”
Oliver has ridden Egg Tart in a race once before, guiding her to an impressive win at Flemington on April 25 this year.
Egg Tart went on to win the Group One Australasian Oaks and Group One Queensland Oaks in her next two starts with Kerrin McEvoy aboard.
McEvoy also rode the mare to her first-up second in the Group Two Theo Marks Stakes this preparation but he is riding in Sydney on Saturday at The Everest meeting.
Oliver said Egg Tart had probably matured a bit since he last rode her in a race and he is looking forward to being back aboard in the Toorak.
“She’s a good horse,” he said.
Egg Tart has been joined on the top line of early all-in betting at $6 by stablemate Tom Melbourne.
Mr Sneaky, who finished second in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes last start, is at $8 along with Theanswermyfriend who stuck on for fifth in the Rupert Clarke after leading.
Trainer Robert Smerdon also has Theanswermyfriend nominated for Saturday’s Listed Weekend Hussler Stakes over 1400m and said they would weigh up which race to run in before Wednesday’s acceptances.
The 2015 Toorak winner Lucky Hussler is the highest weighted horse on 58kg, half a kilo more than his Darren Weir-trained stablemate Tosen Stardom.