Tavago improves Derby prospects

Tavago grabbing Shadows Cast on the line in today's Wellington Stakes. Zacada is a close third. (Photo: Race Images).

Tavago grabbing Shadows Cast on the line in today’s Wellington Stakes. Zacada is a close third. (Photo: Race Images).

Tavago might be sharp enough to own an unbeaten record over a metric mile, but his trainers believe his best form will develop over more ground.

The three-year-old broke his maiden over 1600 metres at Te Rapa earlier this month and over the same trip he successfully bridged the gap to black-type company with victory in today’s Gr. 3 Fasttrackinsurance Wellington Stakes at Otaki.

“We’ve got the Derby in the back of our minds,” said Natalie Young, who trains the gelding with her partner Trent Busuttin. “He’s a real staying type.”

The premier three-year-old event will now be at the forefront of the Cambridge trainers’ plans after Tavago got home late at Otaki to score in the hands of Danielle Johnson.

“He’s a really nice horse in the making, very exciting,” said Young.

A son of Tavistock out of a grand-daughter of Zabeel, Tavago sat wide near the pace and he needed all of the home straight to reel in the leaders for a narrow victory.

“He had to do a lot of work early and he grew another leg that last bit,” said Young.

Shadows Cast enjoyed a good run in the trail and he rounded off strongly in the run home to finish a close second with Zacada also giving a good account of himself to take third money.

Zacada crossed the field from a wide gate to make the pace and fought on gallantly, while the favourite Rangipo got back and made ground late for fourth ahead of the filly Head Spin.

NZ Racing Desk.