Mick Price has thrown in a Melbourne Cup 2016 nomination for last year’s VRC Derby winner Tarzino who he confirmed took no harm out of his Memsie Stakes return last weekend.
Tavistock stallion Tarzino made his four-year-old debut last Saturday at his home track of Caulfield in the weight-for-age Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m).
He jumped a $13 shot in betting and only managed to finish 6.85 lengths back for eighth behind the Darren Weir-trained winner Black Heart Bart.
The post-race stewards’ report read Tarzino had suffered from lameness, but Price said the youngster had performed as he expected a stayer to over that distance first-up.
“He’s jumping out of his skin,” Price told Racing Victoria on Tuesday.
“Micky [Michael] Dee rode him this morning and said he feels totally normal.
“He is a real staying type horse and how he ran is how we expected him to run.
“He did not run below our expectations but the stewards are entitled to do their job.”
To date Tarzino has won four of his 11 starts including two elite level runs.
The first was in last October’s Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) during the famous Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington Racecourse.
In the autumn he returned and won his second Group 1 three starts in with a 1.8 length success over Montaigne in the Rosehill Guineas (2000m) in Sydney.
He failed to complete a rare Derby double though on April 2 during Sydney’s ‘The Championships’ when finishing seven lengths away fourth as the beaten odds-on $1.65 favourite behind Tavago in the Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m).
Price remains confident Tarzino can return to peak form over more metres this season and has the horse nominated for the Spring Cups double.
The first leg is the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 15.
If he makes it to the mile and a half classic, Tarzino will be Price’s first Caulfield Cup starter and will be out to go back-to-back for his age group after the success of the New Zealand-trained four-year-old Mongolian Khan (2015) last year.
Current all-in Caulfield Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au have Tarzino as the early $15 favourite, while his ATC Derby conqueror Tavago isn’t far behind as one of six $17 hopes occupying the second line of betting.
The duo also both feature in the official 2016 Melbourne Cup nominations taken by Racing Victoria this week.
A total of 124 stayers are in the early entries for the $6 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday November 1.
All of last season’s standout three-year-old stayers are included in the Melbourne Cup first nominations including Tarzino and Tavago as well as the Queensland Derby winner Howard Be Thy Name for last year’s Melbourne Cup winning trainer Weir.
The now four-year-old Oaks winners from last season are also Melbourne Cup nominated with Crown Oaks champ Jameka, New Zealand-trained ATC Oaks winner Sofia Rosa, fellow Kiwi Provocative who won the Queensland Oaks and the NZ Oaks champ Fanatic.
Tarzino is the shortest-priced of the four-year-olds in futures Melbourne Cup betting paying $21 in markets led by the Aidan O’Brien-trained Ascot Gold Cup winner Order Of St George at $11.
Tony Pike’s daughter of Zabeel Provocative is a $26 hope, followed by the Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young-trained Tavago.
Check out the full Group 1 spring racing odds and betting offers online now at Ladbrokes.com.au – home of Odds Boost (T&Cs apply).