Tagaloa wins the C.S. Hayes Stakes (Image: Racing Photos)
The 2020 Blue Diamond Stakes winner Tagaloa rediscovered that sizzling form, albeit in different silks, when he turned in a powerful on-speed effort to win the Group 3 C S Hayes Stakes at Flemington.
Wearing the Yulong colours of bottle green, white checked sleeves and white cap after a recent part-purchase of the colt, Tagaloa was challenged inside the final 200 metres by Caulfield Guineas placegetter Aysar, but forged clear late for new rider Luke Currie.
Co-trainer Natalie Young was delighted to declare: "Tags is back" after admitting the winless 12 months with the horse had been frustrating.
"Thank God, what a relief," she said. "It’s fantastic, actually. Dominated that today and he (Currie) gave him a peach of a ride and it worked out perfectly.
"In a couple of weeks’ time (Australian Guineas) he’s going to meet half the same field with two kilos (better) at the set weights so it’s really nice going forward that he’s keeping his value.
"He’s got that Group 3 win as a three-year-old.
"I think Mr Zhang, Yulong, will be happy. All the owners, they’ll be at home watching and hopefully their jumping and screaming like I just was."
Tagaloa ($11) was there to be beaten after taking the lead early into the straight but he was running away from Aysar ($5) again late to win by a length with Mo’unga ($10) three quarters of a length away in third.
Currie said he felt the 1600 metres of the Australian Guineas would not bother the horse.
"He was strong today through the line. He took over at the top of the straight and Aysar had every chance to beat him.
"You’d like to think that he gave you the indication that the mile shouldn’t be a problem. He’s still got to do it but I’d rather win going into it than get beaten going into it."
Aysar looks on track to go into the Australia Guineas third-up but co-trainer Tom Dabernig was lamenting the colt again found one too good.
"Hopefully we’ll have him peaking third-up in the Guineas," he said. "But when he ranged up I thought (it was positive) but he’s looked like that now four runs in-a-row.
'He’s a bit tricky. His ‘coltiness’ is probably working against him at the moment. Hopefully now he’s had a couple of runs that’ll take a bit of that freshness out of him and he’ll improve."