Underwood Stakes the 2016 Caulfield Cup lead-up for Tavago


Australian Derby winner Tavago has caused some headaches for trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young as they plan his program to the Caulfield Cup.

Tavago furthers his preparation towards next month’s 2400m handicap in the weight-for-age Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on Saturday.

Ideally the trainers would have liked a 2000m race but Busuttin said the Turnbull Stakes on October 2 was too close to the Caulfield Cup.

“If the Naturalism had been run under weight-for-age conditions he would have run in that race,” Busuttin said.

“He’s only a small horse and with 59 kilos, giving weight away to Jameka and Set Square and those sorts of horses, he didn’t need to be having a hard run with 59 kilos.

“It’s not like he’s a tough five or six-year-old gelding with a heap of racing under his belt.”

Jameka was promoted to equal Caulfield Cup favourite alongside Hartnell after her stylish win in Saturday’s Naturalism Stakes.

Tavago had been entered for the Hill Stakes at Randwick won in spectacular fashion by Hartnell but the trainers decided to stay close to home.

Busuttin is still learning about Tavago and is haunted by the gelding’s flop in the Waikato Guineas earlier in the year.

That was the only time Busuttin has backed Tavago up within a two week period.

“He’s only had eight runs and only one prep,” Busuttin said.

“I am mindful that I might get him to the Turnbull and with Flemington such a good drying track he could cop a hard track which could make a 13-day turnaround to the Caulfield Cup a bit tough.

“I’d rather have three weeks between runs and while it’s 1800 metres I think he’s one horse that can get away with it.”

Busuttin said he doesn’t expect going into the Caulfield Cup third-up to be a problem.

He pointed out the European and Japanese horses coming to Australia for the major races have sometimes not raced for three months.

He said the facilities at Cranbourne where he and Young have set up base since moving from New Zealand were fantastic.

“There’s enough tracks to do something different,” Busuttin said.

“We’ve got these bush walks that the horses really enjoy.

“They prick their ears and have a good look around and the sand is deep enough that they do a bit of work at the same time.”

Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au

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