2016 Queensland Derby Unlikely for Tavago

Co-trainer Natalie Young has said last Saturday’s upset Australian Derby winning Kiwi visitor Tavago was unlikely to press on for a Queensland Derby 2016 bid this Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.


Australian Derby winner Tavago is set to come back down under for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup double in the spring. Photo: Steve Hart.

Plans for the Tavistock gelding are to head to the spelling paddock before a Melbourne return in the spring where the major Cup double is on the cards for the progressive three-year-old stayer.

A winner of three of his seven starts to date, Tavago had his final lead-up before his debut down under in the Group 1 NZ Derby (2400m) on March 5.

In the mile and a half feature he finished a luckless sixth beaten under two lengths by Rangipo.

He went into last weekend’s Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick as a $41 outsider in betting, but he and jockey Tommy Berry scored a runaway win.

On the line Tavago had a tidy three and a quarter lengths to spare over Ciaron Maher’s Crown Oaks winning filly Jameka who was impressive again on the back of a Rosehill Guineas third.

While Jameka is likely to back-up this Saturday on Day 2 of ‘The Championships’ as the favourite for the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m), Tavago is paddock-bound.

Originally co-trainers Trent Busuttin and Young were considering a Sunshine State bid with the $1.4 million earner this winter in Brisbane with the $600,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm Racecourse on June 11 on the radar.

Young has subsequently told the NZ Racing Desk the Queensland Derby was now off the agenda and that they were more focused on the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and the iconic Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) run in October and November respectively later in the year.

“He has pulled up superbly well and was very bright and bouncing around when I took him for a walk Sunday morning,” Young said.

“There has been talk of pressing on to the Queensland Derby but we think it might be best to send him to the paddock now as we are looking at the Melbourne Spring Carnival as a priority.

“We think he can only get better as he fully matures so the best thing for him is to give him a decent break before we have a crack at those big Cups in Melbourne if he comes up like we think he will.”

Tavago is currently rated a $21 hope in early Caulfield Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au and $26 in futures betting for ‘the race that stops a nation’, the 2016 Melbourne Cup run on the first Tuesday of November at Flemington Racecourse.

Mongolian Khan (2015) won the Caulfield Cup last year for the New Zealanders, while no New Zealand-trained horse has taken out the Melbourne Cup since the Sheila Laxon-trained mare Ethereal back in 2001.

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