An Australian Guineas win would ensure a more lucrative stud career for Tarzino but trainer Mick Price is realistic about his chances.
The Victoria Derby winner is the second favourite for Saturday’s Group One feature over 1600 metres at Flemington, a race that has made the careers of some of Australasia’s most prolific stallions.
Super sire Zabeel won in 1990 while other notable future sires to win include Flying Spur (1996), Dash For Cash (2002) and Reset (2004).
Price fears Tarzino’s may be tarnished by winning the Derby last year and says victory in the Australian Guineas can correct that.
“Unfortunately the Derby distance of 2500 (metres) is a relic of days gone by,” Price said.
“That’s his distance. He’s a genuine staying horse, but the commercial reality is (2013 Derby winner) Polanski stands for $5500 while a Slipper or Guineas winner can write its own ticket.”
Price sees Tarzino’s best hope coming if the pace is on early and the field is stretched out with Craig Newitt able to ride Tarzino more forward than usual.
“It’s really optimistic thinking that he can win the race because those around him with a better turn of foot put him at a disadvantage,” Price said.
Among those who may have a better turn of foot are Tarzino’s stablemates Ready For Victory and Sailing By, one of four fillies in the race.
Ready For Victory, third behind Press Statement in the Caulfield Guineas during the spring, has had two runs back this campaign while Sailing By ran second to Mahuta over 1400m at Caulfield on February 13.
“I think the filly will run really well and if Ready For Victory turns on his Caulfield Guineas performance he can run really well, but I can’t place Tarzino ahead of them,” Price said.
“Over a mile I just have my doubts how he’s going to dash up and sprint.”
New Zealand colt Xtravagant remains the firming favourite at $3.10 and, after early support, Tarzino has drifted to $7.50, but is still second pick.
Sailing By is a $35 chance with Ready For Victory at $41 to give Price a third Australian Guineas, his other two coming with Light Fantastic in 2008 and Heart Of Dreams a year later.
After Saturday, Tarzino will be aimed at the Rosehill Guineas and ATC Australian Guineas before being spelled with the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups in mind.