Tony Pike trained three year old Tutukaka enters Saturday’s Group One Victoria Derby (2500m) having taken out the Listed Geelong Classic (2200m) last Wednesday with James McDonald replacing the suspended Damian Lane.
McDonald likes what he sees in the son of Tavistock who wintered in Queensland where he won at Eagle Farm in June and has had a steady build-up this campaign.
Pike is no stranger to winning big races on both sides of the Tasman and trained Sherwood Forest (Fastnet Rock) to win the 2020 New Zealand Derby (2400m).
“Tony Pike is really happy with him, but it’ll be the first time I’ve sat on him,” McDonald said.
“He is by the right sire and it looks like he’ll stay the trip really well.
“He’s had a nice grounding for this gruelling 2500 metres so I’m sure he’ll be around the mark.
“He will stay well, and I think that is half the battle. It’s a full field, it will be a testing 2500 and I think he will be there at the finish.”
Tutukaka sits on the fourth line of betting at $11 with TAB for Saturday’s race that sees Forgot You (NZ) (Savabeel) the $3.50 market leader from Gunstock (NZ) (Tavistock) at $4.
McDonald said he has healthy respect for both Gunstock and Forgot You who enter Saturday’s race as last start winners.
“I thought Gunstock was super at Caulfield and he’s got good staying blood in him as well,” McDonald said.
“Forgot You has got a bit of brilliance about him so it’s going to be an even race, but there is definitely a long tail to the field, so I think he (Tutukaka) deserves to be in the top four or five in the market.”