Trainer Trent Busuttin is confident that stable star Tavago is primed for a competitive racing return after pleasing in a 1000m hit-out at Cranbourne on Monday morning.
Busuttin confirmed Tavago in the field for the featured Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday, but was forced to scratch the four-year-old after he pulled a tooth on Friday afternoon.
Confident the horse has complete overcome his minor ailment, Busttin was thrilled with the effort mustered by the Tavistock gelding at Cranbourne on Monday morning and revealed that while likely to accept a position into the Group 2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) this weekend, underlined the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) on Saturday week as his likely launch-pad.
“Ben Melham gave him a squeeze at the top of the straight and he came up underneath him nicely and did what was asked of him,” Busuttin told Racing Victoria.
“We may have been a bit over cautious (missing the Memsie Stakes) but it’s the start of a long campaign and he was sulking a bit after having the tooth out on Friday but he’s come through it good and it’s not an issue.
“We’ll probably accept (into the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes) at the Valley on Saturday but more than likely stick to the original plan of running him in the Makybe Diva.
“We’ll just see how he pulls up this week and give him another bit of work on Thursday and go from there.
“He’ll only have the two runs going into the Caulfield Cup, the Underwood might be a bit unorthodox but he’s a horse that doesn’t need a lot of racing and third up into a mile-and-a-half he’ll be fine.”
Debuting to race for second in an Avondale minor over 1400m in October last year, Tavago progressed to a classy win in the Fairview Motors Maiden (1600m) before claiming a maiden black type win in the Group 3 Wellington Stakes (1600m).
Trialling well in the lead-up to his 2016 return, Tavago ran third in the Listed Karaka 3.y.o Mile (1600m) first-up, but failed to produce anything or beat a single runner home in the Group 2 Waikato Guineas (2000m) on February 6th.
Luckless when sixth in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) on March 5th, Tavago arrived in Australia for an impressive a dominant win in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) on April 2nd.
Ladbrokes Australia currently rates Tavago a $17 chance in early 2016 Caulfield Cup betting markets.