Tutukaka demolishes Cup rivals

Tutukaka bounced back to his best with a hollow victory in this afternoon’s Taupo Cup to confirm a path toward bigger targets.

The Tony Pike-trained son of Tavistock showed pleasing improvement on two lead-up runs over shorter trips and relished the step up to 2000 metres on a firm surface.

Tutukaka settled four back on the rail before he was into the clear down the back straight and improved 700 metres to be in contention wide out on the turn.

He let down strongly under the urgings of Michael McNab to sail clear for the third win on his career.
“As soon Michael got him off the fence he never really looked like getting beaten,” Pike said.

“It all played out as we thought and he was third-up so there’s more improvement to come.

“He’ll go to the Karaka Stayers’ Cup (2200m) next at Pukekohe on Karaka Million night and we’ll get through that and then decide where we go.

“There’s obviously going to be a fair few options. As an older horse, he might get 2400m so we might try and sneak him into a nice Cups race at some stage.”

Bred by Ngaire Leicester, the half-brother to 14-time Group 1 winner Melody Belle was purchased by Pike out of Haunui Farm’s draft at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale for $250,000 for an ownership group that includes Waikato Stud.

Tutukaka’s finished runner-up on debut as a two-year-old at Hastings and an effort that prompted Pike to send him to Queensland.

The move was rewarded with success in the Listed Tatts Stakes (1830m) at Eagle Farm as a two-year-old and the following season he won the Listed Geelong Classic (2200m) before he ran sixth in the Gr.1 VRC Derby (2500m).

On his return home, Tutukaka was runner-up in the Karaka Million Classic (1600m) before he was turned out ahead of his current campaign.

“He’s really maturing after covering a few miles earlier on and he’s going to be a really nice middle-distance horse for the next two or three seasons,” Pike said.

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