Kiwi pair excel at Bendigo
A pair of New Zealand bred three-year-olds turned heads at Bendigo on Thursday as they pressed their claims for higher honours as spring racing heats up across the Tasman.
First-up was the Anthony Freedman prepared Tavistock Abbey, a $200,000 purchase from the Rich Hill draft during the 2016 premier session at Karaka. The showy bay recorded his first victory at just his third start when he easily disposed of his maiden rivals by three and three-quarter lengths over 1600 metres.
Wearing the colours made famous by champion galloper Super Impose, rider Luke Currie had the gelding poised to strike after enjoying a soft run in transit and when he asked for an effort the response was immediate.
“He travelled nicely to the corner and just ran away from them in the end,” remarked Currie after the race.
“He always travelled like the winner and quickened nicely when I asked him. He’s a nice horse going forward.”
Freedman’s racing manager Brad Taylor was quick to explain Tavistock Abbey’s last start failure as the camp indicated a tilt at the Gr.1 Victoria Derby (2500m) was on the cards.
“We were highly disappointed last time, but Mark Zahra came back and said he just didn’t handle the track or racing in tight quarters,” he explained.
“We said to Luke to get him some clear air and when he was travelling like he was on the corner he put them away pretty impressively.
“There’s going to be a Derby nomination and we’ll look to use the Derby trial at Flemington as his next start.”
Equally as impressive, albeit by a much smaller margin, was the Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young- trained Sully who also scored over 1600 metres when taking out the last race of the day.
While Tavistock Abbey had raced away from his rivals to record an easy victory, Sully was forced to produce an electric burst of speed in the closing stages as he gunned down second favourite Minoan Spirit in a desperate finish, despite racing erratically for much of the run home.
Rider Zac Spain could have been forgiven if he thought he was about to hurdle the inside rail such was the sharp left hand turn the Reliable Man gelding made at the 250 metre mark.
Once straightened however he found his feet quickly and dashed home to score by a short head and put his name in the hat for Victoria Derby contention.
“He’s got real ability but just needs to sort out his racing manners,” noted a relieved Spain.
“He was really relaxed and I was a little cautious about him laying in so I was waiting for it.”
Young admitted she had her heart in her mouth watching the closing stages of the race.
“It was a little bit scary actually and lucky there was no interference,” she said.
“We thought we had overcome the problems with some new gear including a crossover nose band and tongue tie, but he’s just so green and raw.
“I think we can overcome it if he can get a draw next time.”
Busuttin and Young purchased the gelding for owner Karl Burgess from the Karaka 2016 Select Sale draft of Wentwood Grange for $36,000. They will now aim him for the Gr. 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) at Rosehill on September 23. – NZ Racing Desk.