Multiple stakes-placed gelding Tavisan will be aiming to add a black-type victory to his tally when he competes in the Listed Strathmore Community Bendigo Bank Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
The Mick Price and Michael Kent Jr-trained four-year-old has been in fine form this preparation, recording two wins and a placing from three starts, including a two length victory at Moonee Valley last start.
It was an all the way victory for the son of Tavistock and Price said it was a brilliant ride by regular rider Ben Melham.
“Melham came out to ride Tavisan a couple of weeks ago and said ‘there’s not much speed in this race, so I might just take it up’, which was quite a brilliant jockey decision by him I thought,” Price said.
“It worked really well that day because they sat up for the first half of the race and just allowed him to dash home.”
Tavisan will carry 54kg on Saturday and as a result Melham has elected to take the ride aboard The Matthew Dale-trained Fell Swoop who has been allocated 60kg.
“I don’t know what Melham’s ideal weight is, but that’s the only reason (for the rider change),” Price said. “You lose nothing with Dwayne Dunn.”
While Tavisan led in his last start, Price isn’t convinced that will be the case on Saturday.
“It’s a bit different this race,” he said. “At about the 300 or 400m there could be two or three in front of him.
“He’s a brilliant beginner, I will just leave it to Dwayne. He usually rides with a good sense of timing and gets it right, but I’m not sure that he leads.”
Tavisan has been gelded since his three-year-old season and Price believes that has been a big assistance.
“He will certainly be competitive (on Saturday),” Price said. “He ran as a colt in a lot of his nice three-year-old stakes races and his run at Moonee Valley behind Brutal was very good.
“I think you should judge Tavisan on being a gelding now, not his previous form. You can see how consistent he is, he likes Moonee Valley and I wouldn’t be surprised if he won, but he will be competitive with these horses.”
Tavisan was purchased by Ontrack Thoroughbreds out of Hallmark Stud’s New Zealand Bloodstock 2017 Premier Yearling Sale draft for $135,000.
He commenced his racing career with Matamata trainer Jacob McKay before transferring across the Tasman.