After a clean cut win in the Rosehill Guineas over the weekend, Melbourne horseman Mick Price is confident Tarzino will “only improve” heading into the Australian Derby 2016 next month.
A three-year-old son of Tavistock, Tarzino burst into the spotlight last spring with a two length win in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington.
This time in he has had three starts, his first win being in last weekend’s Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m).
It followed a luckless second when beaten the barest of margins by Palentino in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) in Melbourne, and took his record up to four wins from nine starts in total.
Tarzino had nearly two lengths to spare again for his second elite level success beating home Montaigne (2nd) and the Crown Oaks winning filly Jameka (3rd) in the Rosehill Guineas trifecta.
It is firmly all systems go now for another step up in distance to a mile and a half on April 2 for his shot at the $2 million Group 1 BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick Racecourse on Day 1 of ‘The Championships’.
Price has had just one previous three-year-old in an Australian Derby field without success, but he is bullish over the chances of Tarzino this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
“Tarzino came through his race fantastic and he’ll only improve,” Price told Racing Victoria speaking on the Sunday after the Rosehill Guineas result.
“Craig (Newitt) said he wanted to keep going through the line.”
The Rosehill Guineas is the gun lead-up historically into the Australian Derby producing more winners of the staying showdown than any other lead-up including the past three on the trot.
Two of those completed the Rosehill Guineas – Australian Derby double with It’s A Dundeel (2013) and Criterion (2014) before subsequent Caulfield Cup winning Kiwi Mongolian Khan improved off a fifth for his win 12 months ago.
Following this year’s Rosehill Guineas results, Tarzino has tightened even further in all-in Australian Derby betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
The star staying colt is now odds-on in pre-field markets paying $1.80 for the win.
The only other single figure hope is Tally at $7 after the flying John O’Shea-trained Street Cry colt won last Friday night’s $200,000 Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) at Moonee Valley.
He beat home the short-priced favourite and Australian Guineas winner Palentino (2nd) by two and a quarter lengths with Hardern running third and looks the only horse to give Tarzino a run for his money in the Derby.
Ethiopia (2012) was the last Alister Clark graduate to back-up and win the Derby improving on a second in the Melbourne lead-up for his success in Sydney as a 14/1 shot.
He remains the only Australian Derby winner in over 30 years to come off a Victorian run last time out.
Jameka is also still being considered for a run against the colts and geldings in the Australian Derby paying $11, equal with the Rosehill Guineas runner-up Montaigne for Anthony Cummings.
The other obvious The Championships target for Jameka is the following Saturday’s $1 million Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m), for which she is the $4.40 favourite to win.
The last filly to take on and beat the boys in the Australian Derby was Shamrocker in 2011 who was the first since Research back in 1989.
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