Dual stakes winner Tutukaka has been sold with the well-related four-year-old to continue his career in Singapore.
A half-brother to 14-time Group One winner Melody Belle, the son of Tavistock was successful three times for Cambridge trainer Tony Pike and has changed hands in a deal brokered by bloodstock agent Bevan Smith.
“It’s a bit unfortunate with a horse like him, our lack of depth in handicap races has made it hard for him,” Pike said.
“He won the Taupo Cup (2000m) off the minimum and got nine points and then he was carrying topweight (60kg) in the Karaka Cup (2200m).
“He was in a very difficult place in his career with the weights he was carrying. It was a reasonably significant offer so we took the money and have moved on.”
Bred by Marie Leicester, Tutukaka was purchased by Pike for $250,000 out of Haunui Farm’s draft at Karaka and was quick to show a measure of the family ability.
He finished a close second on debut and then headed to the Queensland winter carnival where he won the Listed Tatts Stakes (1830m) at Eagle Farm off the back of a third in the Listed Phoenix Stakes (1500m).
“He had a run as an autumn two-year-old at Hastings and we took him to Brisbane with the idea of getting him through to the Derby later and that worked,” Pike said.
Tutukaka was in Melbourne the following spring and claimed the Listed Geelong Classic (2200m) before finishing sixth in the Gr.1 VRC Derby (2500m).
“He won the Classic and James (McDonald) admits it probably wasn’t his best ride in the Derby,” Pike said.
After a break, Tutukaka returned to run second in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) and this season won the Taupo Cup. He ended his New Zealand career when seventh in the Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m).
Meanwhile, three-year-olds Val Di Zoldo, Cheval D’Or and Matter Of Honour are in fine order for major age group targets at Trentham this Saturday with the former most prominent in the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) market.
She is currently the joint second favourite at $8 following her victory in the Gr.2 Lowland Stakes (2100m).
“She came through it in good order, it was a big trip away for a three-year-old filly and she had a quiet few days afterwards,” Pike said.
He is confident the daughter of War Decree will see out the Classic distance.
“She is such a laid-back, relaxed filly and always looked like she wanted a trip,” he said.
Stablemate Cheval D’Or is a $12 chance in the Oaks following her sold last-start effort for fourth in the Gr.3 Sunline Vase (2100m).
Pike knows the Almanzor filly’s family well having prepared her half-brother (The) Bostonian to win three times at Group One level in the Canterbury Stakes (1300m), Doomben Ten Thousand (1200m) and the Kingsford-Smith Cup (1300m).
Matter Of Honour will run in the Gr.1 Gee & Hickton Funeral Directors Levin Classic (1600m) and has derived benefit from his unplaced resuming run in the Listed Mufhasa Stakes (1400m), in which circumstances went against him.
“On paper, there looked to be a lot of speed in the race and we didn’t want him to be caught three deep and having a tough run fresh-up,” Pike said.
“He went back against his racing pattern and Alfriston missed the kick so all the tempo went out of the race. He closed it off okay and has taken a lot of improvement.
“From a better draw on the big track at Trentham he will race up in his usual handy position and he’ll run a pretty bold race.”