By Ray Hickson
If Tagaloa is to become the first horse to complete the Blue Diamond-Golden Slipper double since 2011 then co-trainer Natalie Young says getting the second half of the race right is crucial.
Sepoy was the horse in question and Tagaloa’s preparation for the Group 1 $3.5m Longines Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on Saturday mirrors the colt he is trying to emulate.
After winning the Blue Diamond, Sepoy was beaten in the Todman Stakes and that’s been Young and co-trainer Trent Busuttin’s experience with Tagaloa – and they’re pleased with the decision to take that path.
“We ummed and ahhed about going into it a month between runs and maybe trialling like Hanseatic and Personal did but having that race day pressure and having him on the right leg is going to help him out,’’ Young said.
“He's come through the Todman fantastically and I can't fault him going into it.
“He had a nice piece of work on Tuesday, Michael Walker got off and said he's going better than going into the Blue Diamond. It gives you more confidence when you have a jockey giving you that feedback.’’
Tagaloa was the horse with the flashing light on behind Farnan in the Todman Stakes two weeks ago, he settled back and hit the line with Punter's Intelligence showing he ran the fastest last 600m of 33.40 (more than two lengths quicker than the winner).
The Todman has produced four of the last nine Slipper winners and market says there won’t be much between Tagaloa ($5 with TAB) and Farnan ($4.80) in their return clash.
Young said the Todman experience was a perfect lead up for Tagaloa and it’s likely that Walker will take full advantage of drawing barrier six but stressed the importance of being strongest again at the business end.
“He has a nice gate, hopefully he can sit just behind the speed,’’ she said.
“With the experience of being in the Todman and being in behind them and getting kick back, that's what it was all about, he learned to relax and be in amongst them.
“If we jump well we may make them work a bit to get across. He is a bit of a momentum horse, he doesn't have an awesome turn of foot, he takes a couple of strides and Michael will be wary of that.
“But it is all about the last 600m not the first 600m, so we don't want to burn him out in the first three furlongs.’’
The colt’s future beyond the racetrack has already been secured with Yulong buying an interest and a Slipper win would be icing on the cake.
It would also be a hugely satisfying experience for Young and Busuttin who took a $300,000 punt on the son of Lord Kanaloa as a yearling.
“We selected him from the sales and put owners into him, he's an amazing individual to deal with,’’ she said.
“I just think he is a proper horse. He's very versatile, we just need a bit of luck in the running.
“And looking at him as an individual, he's bred to be better as a three-year-old and up to 1400m or a mile.’’
Tagaloa runs second in the Todman Stakes on March 7
About 40 minutes before the Golden Slipper, Young and Busuttin will know if they have a live Australian Derby contender when The Holy One tackles the Group 1 $600,000 Sky Racing Active Rosehill Guineas (2000m).
A couple of things have changed since The Holy One ran sixth in the Randwick Guineas (1600m), where he ran the second fastest last 600m of 33.87, namely some much needed chiropractic work and the addition of Nash Rawiller.
“Last week we flew Brendan McCarthy, our chiropractor, up and he did some tweaking over the sacrum and he got a really good release,’’ Young said.
“That will help him jump and roll up and get a nice position, he has Nash on and he can get them to jump and get up there.
“He ran some really nice sectionals and the extra 400m he is going to relish.’’
The Holy One is a $17 chance with TAB in the Rosehill Guineas.