Natural Stepping Stone for Tavago into Caulfield Cup 2016

The Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young-trained ATC Derby winning Kiwi Tavago will have a second-up run over 2000m in Melbourne on way to the 2016 Caulfield Cup this spring.


Australian Derby winner Tavago will run over 2000m next race on way to the 2016 Caulfield Cup this October. Photo: Steve Hart.

Original plans for the Tavistock four-year-old were to run him first-up in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) and second-up in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (2000m).

He would then tackle the lucrative $3 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 15 three runs into his Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival bid.

Winner of Sydney’s Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m) in April at Royal Randwick as a three-year-old last season, Tavago kicked things off in the Dato’ at Moonee Valley on September 3.

He put in a somewhat disappointing effort according to co-trainer Busuttin who spoke to Racing Ahead on RSN this week speaking of the gelding’s 5.95 length loss when 11th to Awesome Rock.

“Initially I was quite disappointed and I’m certainly not thrilled with the run,” Busuttin, how is now based at Cranbourne, said.

“He’s probably jumped and put himself two or three lengths handier than what he should have been just through being a bit fresh over the mile.

“If he doesn’t cop that interference late in the piece he probably runs on par with Jameka [seventh, 3.85 lengths] and then you give it a pass mark.”

Instead of going up to 1800m next up in the Underwood, Busuttin confirmed Tavago would run over more distance second-up having come through the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes run in fine order.

“He’s come through great. He had a couple of easy days of walking and swimming which is normal. He was under saddle again this morning and he was bouncing around,” he said on Tuesday.

The galloper will next contest either the $150,000 Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield Racecourse on September 17, which offers a Caulfield Cup ballot exemption to the winner, or go to Flemington on October 2 for the $500,000 Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m).

“I was thinking of going Underwood into the Caulfield Cup; giving him a bit of space between races,” Busuttin said.

“He will be running over 2000m next start, whether it be in the Naturalism or the Turnbull.”

The Turnbull Stakes has produced four of the past seven Caulfield Cup winners, most recently Fawkner (3rd in 2013), while the last to complete the double was Elvstoem (2004) when the Turnbull only held Group 2 status.

On Tuesday Racing Victoria took 108 Caulfield Cup 2016 first acceptances.

Tavago currently pays $26 in all-in Caulfield Cup betting led by British galloper Scottish ($15) who is one of 15 international raiders still in the mix.

Back Tavago next race and check out all the upcoming Group 1 spring racing odds online now at


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