Group One Blue Diamond Stakes hero Tagaloa has recorded his first win since that race with an emphatic victory in the C S Hayes Stakes.
Co-trainer Natalie Young was relieved to see Tagaloa return to his best form in the Group Three event over 1400 metres.
“‘Tags’ is back. What a relief. It’s fantastic, actually,” Young said.
“He dominated that today and Luke (Currie) gave him a peach of a ride and it worked out perfectly.”
Young said the best aspect of the win was that it showed Tagaloa was on track for his main mission, which is the Australian Guineas at Flemington on February 27 over 1600 metres.
“In a couple of weeks time he’s going to meet half the same field, two kilos (better) at the set weights,” Young said.
Saturday was Tagaloa’s first win in seven starts since the Blue Diamond Stakes and Currie, who was riding him for the first time, said he was suited by Flemington.
Currie said Tagaloa had been hampered by bad barriers in his recent runs but starting from gate one made a big difference.
Four of the past six Australian Guineas winners have also claimed the C S Hayes Stakes.
Tagaloa ($11) defeated perennial bridesmaid Aysar ($5) by a length with Mo’unga ($10) another three-quarters of a length away third.
Troy Cortsens will look at starting his three-year-old filly Zou Dancer in the Australian Guineas after her runaway victory in The Vanity (1400m).
Corstens said they had discussed a start in the Guineas and he was warming to the idea after her win.
Zou Dancer sat second in the run, took the lead early in the straight and exploded clear to win by 4-3/4 lengths over the VRC Oaks winner Personal ($4.60) with Starelle ($8.50) a half-length away third.
Winning jockey Jamie Kah said Zou Dancer relaxed beautifully in the run and predicted she would do the same over an extra 200 metres in the Guineas.