A no panic ride from Craig Grylls paved the way for promising galloper Tavattack to claim his first win at stakes level when he took out the Listed Bramco Granite & Marble Flying Handicap (1400m) at Awapuni.
The lightly raced six-year-old son of Tavistock has proven a model of consistency with five wins from just 20 starts and made it victory number six in fine style as he dashed through one off the fence in the home straight for Grylls after settling near the rear in the early running.
The Allan Sharrock-prepared runner provided the second leg of a winning double for the trainer and Grylls after they had earlier triumphed with five-year-old mare Sumi over 1200m.
Sharrock also saddled the race favourite and topweight Shamus in the 1400m contest and had been hoping for a quinella but was disappointed to see Shamus race below his best on the deteriorating track conditions that had softened up with rain on the day.
“It’s not quite the way I thought it would go, but we still got a result,” Sharrock said.
“I did think Shamus was the best of my two but make no mistake this fellow (Tavattack) has a real touch of class about him.
“I’ve taken him along quietly as he has been quite weak, but he is starting to come to it and there is more in store for him.”
Sharrock had been thinking Grylls had made a mistake by shifting to the inside approaching the home turn, but was happy to be proven wrong on that point.
“I talked with Gryllsy before the start and we discussed where we thought the better ground was and it wasn’t against the fence,” he said.
“When he came that way I didn’t think he could get up. He proved me wrong and the way he won he has to be a big chance in the Easter Handicap (Gr.2, 1600m) which will be his next start.”
Sharrock reported that Shamus would be sent to the spelling paddock but revealed he has black type aspirations for Sumi to finish off her campaign.
“Shamus was reluctant to go to the barriers and Opie said he was gone with 600m to run, so he is straight to the paddock now,” he said.
“I was impressed by Sumi and she can have another rating 75 over 1400m before we have a go at black type over a mile with her.”
Bred and raced by the McKenzie family, who have been long time clients of Sharrock, Tavattack is out of the unraced O’Reilly mare Miss Aurora, a daughter of Gr.3 Wakefield Stakes (1200m) winner Zablinka.
He has now won six races from 21 starts and over $173,000 in prize money.