New Zealand-trained Tavago produced a career best performance to win the 2016 Australian Derby at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
Tavago went into the Australian Derby as an outsider on the back of a sixth place finish in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) last start, but he was ridden right on the speed by jockey Tommy Berry and smashed his rivals when asked for an extra effort in the final stages of the race.
“One of my best thrills in racing was winning the Hong Kong Derby on Designs On Rome and to do it here on my homeland in Australia is brilliant,” Berry said.
“I was confident because how often do you see Trent Busuttin come over with a horse and when he does he is confident and they run well.
“I knew that he would stay all day, so I took a bit of a shortcut home on the corner and he was very strong to the line.
“I can’t thank Trent enough for giving me the ride and I am glad I could do it for the Kiwis.”
Tavago is trained by the partnership of Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young – who have previously tasted Group 1 success in Australia in 2011 when Sangster won the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m).
Young said that the stable were always confident that Tavago could bounce back to his best following the New Zealand Derby and she was thrilled to score a big win before they make the move to Cranbourne later this year.
“It is absolutely unbelievable,” Young said.
“We picked this horse out with the owners early on at the yearling sales and it was a huge ride by Tommy.
“He got him to jump and put him there and he just destroyed them.
“We are completely over the moon.
“He was dappled up, he looked amazing and he looked far better than he did before the New Zealand Derby.
“We have the Queensland Derby in the back of our mind, but we will definitely give him a rest of a couple of weeks and see how he pulls up and comes through it.
“It is a great win to have especially ahead of our move to Cranbourne.”
Tarzino went into the race as a dominant favourite, but he pulled for the entirety of the race and he faded in the final stages of the race to finish a distant fourth.