Tofane is in a club which includes only Winx, Verry Elleegant and Black Caviar over the past decade. So why is she so criminally underrated?
The crowd, knowing Hickman’s knockabout nature, had long been riding the Pierata wave and wanted a crowning moment at the end of the Sydney autumn carnival. He circled the Randwick bend alongside Tofane, looked to have snuck a winning break up the rise . . . and then lost in a bob of the heads.
‘You just sat back and admired the tenacity and the will to win those two horses showed in the last 400 metres.’
“That was almost Our Waverley Star and Bonecrusher [in the 1986 Cox Plate] where two horses just went head to head,” part-owner Rupert Legh says. “She got dropped at the 200 but pinned the ears back and beat a horse that is very hard to get past.
“It was one of the best races, whether you came first or second. You just sat back and admired the tenacity and the will to win those two horses showed in the last 400 metres. That’s what racing is all about, two superstars going head to head.”
After her first All Aged Stakes, Tofane returned to win the Stradbroke and Tatt’s Tiara last year before making it another group 1 in the Orr Stakes in 2022, the third straight year she has won a major.
“More importantly, the wins have been at weight-for-age, open handicaps, against her own sex,” Legh says. “She’s done it all.”
Having been unsuited by a farcically run $5 million All-Star Mile at Flemington last start, Tofane is eyeing a fifth group 1 before going under the hammer at the Magic Millions Broodmare Sale.
Still, Tofane was being quoted at double figures in All Aged Stakes markets on Wednesday. She was a $11 chance with Sportsbet, trailing joint favourites Forbidden Love and In The Congo ($5), with Mo’unga on the second line of betting at $5.50.
“Her racing career has been great for us all,” Moroney says. “She’s going to be sadly missed because she’s going to be hard to replace. Basically every preparation [in the last two years] she’s been able to win a group 1.
“I think we come into this race with fresh legs, which is a big help. It’s a race she’s won before and it’s been the trip she’s won all her group 1s at. She’s won going right-handed three times. I know the boys that ride her in trackwork say she just feels a bit better on that leg than on her Melbourne leg. In saying that, there’s not much in it.”
Says Legh: “Look at her record up there, 1400 metres, Sydney way of going, she can handle wet or dry. She’s got a will to win and if she’s given a fair run by Mark [Zahra], she’ll do the rest.
“She’s a seriously good mare with a massive heart, and her will to win is one of the best I’ve seen in a racehorse. She’s a proper racehorse.”
It might take until her final start for everyone to figure it out.
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