Melbourne horseman Mick Price has described his VRC Derby winner Tarzino as an “ideal Caulfield Cup” horse ahead of a spring campaign targeting the 2016 edition of the world’s richest mile and half handicap.
A rising four-year-old Tavistock colt, Tarzino has won four of his 10 career starts amassing over $1.6 million in prize money thanks to his success in last year’s Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) during the Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington.
He came back this season and had four autumn runs including three in elite level company.
The first produced a second to Palentino in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) over the Flemington mile, before he relished a step up in distance to take out the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) in his Sydney debut on March 19.
Last start Tarzino raced at Royal Randwick during ‘The Championships’ in April finishing a failed fourth as the beaten odds-on favourite in the Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m).
Price is confident the proven performer can atone for that Derby loss when he returns for the spring.
Looking over plans for the coming preparation, Price said he was unlikely to set Tarzino for a shot at Moonee Valley’s Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) and instead had the Spring Cups in mind for the progressive galloper.
He confirmed interest in targeting the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) at the horse’s home track in October, which would help gauge whether he was up to a run in the ‘race that stops a nation’.
Price added that he would love to run Tarzino in the iconic $6 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) over the two miles at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November, but there were a number of factors to consider before then.
“I reckon (Tarzino) is an ideal Caulfield Cup horse, I’m not getting a great feel about the Cox Plate, he is a genuine staying-type horse,” he told Racing Victoria.
“I reckon handicap is good, 2400m here at Caulfield is good, whether we took a Melbourne Cup option on him after that depends.
“This year there is three weeks to the Mackinnon Stakes (Longines Mile) so it will be interesting to see what extra horses they get in that race, I’d love to run in the Melbourne Cup but he has to be going well, he is only four and he is still relatively lightly raced for something like that so we will just monitor him.”
He is at $17, an equal futures price as New Zealand raider Tavago who won the ATC Derby on April 2 and Robert Hickmott’s recent Ranvet Stakes winner The United States.
In all-in Melbourne Cup betting Tarzino is at a quote of $21, the Aidan O’Brien-trained Irish stayer Order Of St George ($13) favourite to win after his Royal Ascot success in last weekend’s Gold Cup.
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