Australian Derby winner Tavago extended his affinity with Sydney race tracks to Rosehill by clearing out to comfortably score the Group Three Sky High Stakes.
Rosehill on Coolmore Classic Day suited the four-year-old gelding down to the ground as Tavago who was $9 with Luxbet.com took advantage of a gently paced journey over 2000m before surging clear to inflict Antonio Giuseppe’s first loss on his home track.
Tavago’s first win since he claimed the $2.1 million Australian Derby at Randwick last April sets him up for tilts at the BMW Stakes (2400m) at Rosehill on March 25 and the Sydney Cup (3200m) across town on April 8.
Cranbourne-based New Zealand trainer Trent Busuttin, who works in partnership with Natalie Young, mapped out that schedule after a fully-fit Tavago romped to the line 3-1/4 lengths ahead of $2.05 favourite Antonio Giuseppe.
Allergic ($18) was a neck back in third.
Two down field finishes at Caulfield and Moonee Valley last September initiated a 22-week spell after he was diagnosed with a virus.
“He got beaten 200m in the Underwood (Stakes), it wasn’t running a battling fourth or fifth. He was a crook horse so we took him out and started again,” Busuttin said.
He was fifth first-up in the Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) on February 25 and this preparation continues to go to plan.
“He’s a genuine staying horse. He’s a 2400m horse. He enjoys a cut out of the ground and that’s what he got,” Busuttin said.
Jockey Blake Shinn agreed.
“The race was set up for him. They went a great tempo which afforded him to get into a nice rhythm. The horse is back to his best.
“He’s going to a BMW now I’d say he’s going to be extremely hard to beat, especially stepping up in distance.”
Tavago’s comprehensive win had an immediate impact on the Sydney Cup odds with him shortening from $11 to join the Chris Waller-trained Antonio Giuseppe as the joint $6 favourite.