Tavistock speedster tenacious at Caulfield

Handy sprinter Tavisan recorded the fifth win of his career when successful in the Le Pine Funerals Handicap (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday under a controlled Ben Melham ride.

TAVISAN winning the Le Pine Funerals Handicap in Caulfield, Australia.
TAVISAN winning the Le Pine Funerals Handicap in Caulfield, Australia. Picture: Racing Photos

Having begged to get more rides from the Mick Price and Michael Kent Jr stable, jockey Ben Melham produced a peach aboard the son of Tavistock, who has now won A$326,351 in prizemoney.

"He basically pleaded his case," Price said of Melham.

"I thought his reasons were good and I've always admired him as a jockey and he has never ridden better.

"It was a beautiful polished ride and he's one of the better riders, no doubt."

Showing his customary gate speed, Tavisan jumped straight to the front before tracking a path off the fence and had a half-length to spare from Inn Keeper with I Am Someone the same margin away third.

Tavisan  was having his third run back from a spell and Price said it had been a difficult task getting the gelding fit.

"The biggest problem with this horse is getting him fit," he said. "You would think a sprinter, we work them and trial them and fitness is not usually a problem.

"But with him, he's such a burly horse I can't do anything but use the races to get him fit.  He is just a fat gelding and today I think you saw the benefit of not just a nice ride but at last we have some race fitness."

The four-year-old is likely to be seen further this winter, with Price not keen on stopping anytime soon now that he has the gelding up to full fitness and he believes there are more wins in store.

"Stepping up to 1200m is fine for him and he is a handicapper that is suited at this time of the year with his toe in the ground," Price said.

"This is his time of year, the tracks have a bit of give in them. I think while he is fit I won't be changing anything he just has to keep going to these handicaps.

"Eventually he will get to the point where you have to claim on him but it is good to see him back to form."

Out of the Volksraad mare Evanescence, Tavisan was purchased by Grant Morgan's Ontrack Thoroughbreds out of Hallmark Stud's New Zealand Bloodstock 2017 Premier Yearling Sale draft for $135,000.

Bred by The Sunlight Trust, Tavisan commenced his racing career in New Zealand with Matamata trainer Jacob McKay before transferring across the Tasman after four starts as a juvenile.


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