Land Of Plenty claims the Toorak Handicap

Land Of Plenty wins the Toorak Handicap.
Land Of Plenty has added to trainer Darren Weir’s impressive Toorak Handicap record at Caulfield.

Outside barriers are invariably a source of frustration horse racing but not for champion trainer Darren Weir.

After winning the Group One Thousand Guineas with Amphitrite from the widest draw, Weir followed suit with Land Of Plenty in the Group One Toorak Handicap.

Weir has made an art-form of winning Toorak Handicaps and his win on Saturday with Land Of Plenty was his fourth in the past five years.

Ridden by Damian Lane, Land Of Plenty was backed from $6.50 into $4.20 favouritism before scoring a 1-1/4 length win over Hartnell ($9) with Siege Of Quebec ($10) a half-length away third.

“Sometime drawing inside can be a disadvantage I guess but I’d rather draw the middle than out,” Weir said.

“He was set for these two races, the Sir Rupert Clarke and the Toorak and it’s good that he’s been able to get one for the owners.”

Weir is the fourth trainer to prepare Land Of Plenty after the five-year-old initially began his career with Shane Nichols.

After stints with Mick Price and Grahame Begg, Land Of Plenty made his way to Weir, commencing a campaign in March.

After victories at Flemington and Morphettville in May, Weir decided to set his sights on the spring carnival.

“With him still being a colt the owners were hoping to win a Group One and all I was hoping to was win a race first,” Weir said.

“He had a good prep and ended up winning a mile race in Adelaide and I said to them then that we should chuck him in the paddock and head towards the spring and aim for these handicap races.

“Down in the weights I thought they’d be perfect races for him.”

Lane had a tougher week than wanted getting down to the 53kg allocated to Land Of Plenty, but said the workload was worth the reward.

He said he was lucky there was a good speed set in the 1600m handicap although he settled a little further back than initially thought.

“He didn’t begin that well and with the solid tempo I ended up a bit further back than anticipated,” Lane said.

“Coming to the turn they bunched up so it didn’t matter and in the end he was too good.

“It’s great to be a part of the Weir camp, they’re flying.”