Trainer Trent Busuttin is pleased with the condition of Tavago ahead of his second-up appearance in Friday night’s Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) at The Valley.

Tavago is set to contest Friday night's Group 3 JRA Cup at The Valley second-up. Photo: Steve Hart

Tavago is set to contest Friday night’s Group 3 JRA Cup at The Valley second-up. Photo: Steve Hart

A Group 1 winner having dominated the 2016 edition of the Australian Derby (2400m), Tavago returned to the races this time for credible seventh in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 16th.

Busuttin told AAP that he was thrilled with everything that the horse produced in his first-up run and is confident that he is primed for a smart second-up performance in the JRA Cup 2017, with leading Sydney hoop Hugh Bowman in the saddle.

“Hugh Bowman will ride him,” Busuttin said.

“I think he’s a horse that wants his races spaced with not a lot of racing. At some stage he had to have a gap of two weeks between runs so I’d rather it be first-up to second-up and that will give him a good three-week break going into the Caulfield Cup, all going well.

“He’s obviously got to run well (on Friday night) but we were rapt with his first-up run.”

Tavago has been set for a run in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) this time in and he is confident that he will be rock-hard fit for the October feature.

“If he gets a nice draw in the Caulfield Cup he’ll perform well,” he said.

A commendable performer in his native New Zealand prior to transferring with Busuttin’s stable to Cranbourne, Tavago failed to come up through two starts last spring and was returned to the paddock before reaching his major targets.

Resuming in autumn this year for fifth in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m), the Tavistock gelding returned to winning from in the Group 3 Sky High Stakes (2000m), but was again sent to the paddock after pulling up lame in the Group 1 The BMW (2400m).

The 2017 JRA Cup final field and barrier draw is due to be completed and released by midday, Wednesday (September 27th).

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Jared Timms

Jared graduated with a journalism degree in 2011. He is a keen sports fan and has enjoyed many accolades for his lively writing style and comprehensive coverage of major sporting events and horse racing. Today, you can find Jared cheering on his beloved Manchester City with a beer in hand.