Trainer Trent Busuttin has revealed that Tavago is no certainty to line up for the 2016 Hill Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday, despite being included in nominations for the Group 2 race.
Tavago stamped himself as one to watch upon debuting to Australian racing during the recent Autumn Carnival; delivering a smart field a resounding defeat in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) on Day 1 of The Championships.
Having failed to make much of an impression when eleventh in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) first-up, Busuttin told the NZ Racing Desk that he plans to saddle the Tavistock gelding third-up in the Caulfield Cup, and is yet to decide if the Hill Stakes 2016 or the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) is the best lead-in option.
“He’s coming up really well and it’s 50-50 at this stage whether we shoot him up there for the Hill Stakes or if we wait for the Underwood,” Busuttin said.
“We’ll just have a think about it over the next couple of days, but whatever happens he’ll be third-up into the Caulfield Cup.”
Tavago debuted to racing for second in an Avondale minor over 1400m in October last year, before breaking through for a maiden race win in the Fairview Motors Maiden (1600m) at Te Rapa on November 7th.
Making a successful transition to black type company with a strong win in the Group 3 Wellington Stakes (1600m) on November 27th, Tavago returned from a freshen-up for third in the Listed Karaka 3.y.o Mile (1600m), but failed to make anything of an impression or beat a runner home in the Group 2 Waikato Guineas (2000m) on February 6th.
Completely luckless in running in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) on March 5th, Tavago still managed to produce a smart turn of foot late to finish a credible sixth.
The 2016 Hill Stakes field and barrier draw is due to be completed and released by midday, today (Wednesday September 14th).
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