Trainer Mick Price has confirmed his smart colt Tarzino is still on track to target an interstate Derby double with a run in next month’s ATC Derby 2016 in Sydney despite a loss in Melbourne last weekend.
The three-year-old son of Tavistock is best known for his impressive two length win in Flemington’s Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) last October during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
He has had two runs this time in including his first autumn elite level test over the weekend back at Flemington.
First-up Tarzino ran a fast-finishing fourth to Mahuta in the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield when beaten one and a quarter lengths over an unsuitably short distance.
He stepped up to a mile for the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) next-up and caught the eye again when narrowly defeated by a short half-head to cross second behind the Darren Weir-trained Palentino.
Tarzino’s jockey Craig Newitt lodged a protest against Palentino and his hoop Mark Zahra, but it was dismissed and the horse missed out on a second elite level win.
Price is more than happy with the horse’s Guineas efforts and how he pulled through the run, believing his chance at more Group 1 success will come when he heads north for the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival’s ‘The Championships’ in April.
Tarzino targets the $2 million Group 1 BMW Australian Derby (2400m) on ‘Day 1’ at Royal Randwick Racecourse, April 2, shooting for a rare Derby double during his three-year-old season.
Price blamed the Australian Guineas loss on lack of early speed in the race, and confirmed plans to head into the Australian Derby via the $600,000 Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) Saturday week on Golden Slipper Stakes Day.
The last horses to complete the Rosehill Guineas – ATC Derby double were It’s A Dundeel (2013) and Criterion (2014).
Mongolian Khan (2015) also came off a Rosehill Guineas run when fifth before his win in last autumn’s ATC Australian Derby for New Zealand’s Murray Baker.
The latest Australian Derby odds at Ladbrokes.com.au have Tarzino as the short-priced $3.40 favourite.
He is followed in the all-in Australian Derby betting markets by just one other single figure hope currently, the horse that defeated him in the Australian Guineas Palentino ($9).
Anthony Cummings’ Road To Rock gelding Montaigne, fifth to Le Romain in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) last weekend, and Jameka follow on $10.
The Ciaron Maher-trained Myboycharlie filly Jameka won the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) last spring and finished fifth two lengths off the winner in the Australian Guineas.
She is aiming to become the first Australian Derby winning filly since Shamrocker (2011) should she go that path and isn’t saved for the following weekend’s $1 million Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m).
Jameka is current $7 co-favourite with the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Australian Guineas third-placegetter Risque in futures Australian Oaks betting.
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