Ill-fated Cambridge Stud stallion Tavistock sired his first Oaks winner on Saturday. Photo: Trish Dunell
It was an emotional day on Saturday for the team at Cambridge Stud.
The prestigious thoroughbred nursery went through a tumultuous few months last year when losing three stallions, including flagbearer Tavistock, but they had something to cheer about on the weekend when celebrating his first Oaks winner.
His daughter Toffee Tongue (NZ) went close when finishing runner-up in the Gr.1 Australian Oaks (2400m), but she was not to be outdone on Saturday when taking the inside alley down the straight to run away to a 0.8 length victory in the Gr.1 Australasian Oaks (2000m).
While it was Tavistock’s first Oaks victory, success in Classic races is not new to the ill-fated stallion.
He has sired three Derby winners – Tarzino (NZ) (Gr.1 Victoria Derby, 2500m), Tavago (NZ) (Gr.1 Australian Derby, 2400m), and Toffee Tongue’s full-brother Werther (NZ) (Hong Kong Derby, 2000m).
He has also come close a number of times in an Oaks, with the previous placings of Harlow Gold (NZ) (Gr.1 VRC Oaks, 2500m), Imperial Lass (NZ) (Gr.1 Queensland Oaks, 2400m), and Toffee Tongue’s full-sister Milseain (NZ) (Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks, 2400m).
“For him to get an Oaks winner was particularly satisfying because he has been close a number of times before,” Cambridge Stud’s Head of Sales and Nominations Scott Calder said.
Calder highlighted there could be plenty to look forward to with Toffee Tongue given her family’s tendency to get better with age.
“You only have to look at her pedigree to see what the potential upside is with her with Werther and the like,” he said.
“She is in the right stable with Chris Waller. It (Oaks win) is definitely a highlight but certainly one you would hope that she can go on and be better in the future.”
The victory was made even sweeter for Cambridge Stud with Toffee Tongue having been bred by the group who raced Tavistock, including trainer Andrew Campbell and Real Estate mogul Tommy Heptinstall.
“It was a bittersweet result,” Calder said. “On the one hand he is no longer with us, but on the flipside it was a fitting result with Toffee Tongue being out of Bagalollies and the personal connections with her.
“Bagalollies has been a big part of putting Tavistock on the map with what she has produced.
“To put Tavistock back up in lights, I was glad it was her because there are a lot of parallels between her and those who raced Tavistock.”
While Cambridge Stud lost Tavistock last year, Calder said the farm can continue to look forward to watching his last few crops compete on the track.
“His stud season was obviously cut short but he did breed to a number of mares (76) to give him a little bit of a last crop,” he said.
“He has got big numbers coming through and for us it was a case of believing he would really kick back with his better bred crops.
“In the next 12 months you are going to have those $65,000 stud fee foals turning three and that’s when you would like to see that momentum building.
“I certainly don’t think it will be the last race we have got to celebrate and hopefully in the coming seasons he will continue to remind us of what a loss he was.”