A group one winner over 1400 metres at weight-for-age in the Mudgway Stakes at Hastings in the spring, Tavistock (4 B. H. Montjeu – Upstage, by Quest For Fame) emulated the feat when winning the $200,000, Group I, Waikato Draught Sprint (WFA) over 1400 metres at Te Rapa on Saturday.
The unrivalled scenes of jubilation exhibited by the owners at Hastings last August had lost none of their edge, and this time the man responsible for his purchase, Tommy Heptinstall, was present, to add more fireworks to the festivities.
Heptinstall sent a message to his wife when he was interviewed on television by Trackside after the event, saying, “I’m not sure what is going to happen tonight, but I might not be home until Monday.”
Trained by Andrew Campbell at Opaki, Tavistock boasts additional Wellington based owners in the shape of David Allison, Chris and Johnny Barnao, Bruce Honeybone, Tom Pivac, and David Platt, as well as Heptinstall, who claimed he learned to read by familiarising himself with Turf Digest.
An avid punter and now owner, Heptinstall bought Tavistock as a yearling at the 2007 New Zealand Bloodstock Select Sale for $85,000, and since winning on debut in impressive fashion as a two-year-old, the entire has recorded five wins for earnings of $413,292.
Placed in the Vain Stakes at Caulfield as a three-year-old before winning at Flemington, when racing as Lord Tavistock, Campbell is planning a return trip to Caulfield as the next assignment for Tavistock to tackle the $A502,000, Group I, Rokk Ebony Futurity Stakes over 1600 metres on February 27.
Tavistock had indicated his readiness with a huge run for second to Wall Street in the Thorndon Mile at his previous start, and had to be special to win.
With regular rider Jason Waddell aboard, who will retain the mount in Australia, Tavistock settled fourth last in a field of thirteen on a genuine pace, to be standing the leader ten lengths with 600 metres to travel.
He tracked eventual second placed Wealth Princess (San Luis) into the race nearing the home turn, before unleashing a paralysing burst to snatch victory by a neck at the line.
The pair had one and a quarter lengths to spare over horse of the year, and winner of the corresponding race last season, Mufhasa (Pentire), while Ruud Van Slaats (Van Nistelrooy) fought bravely for fourth after setting up a stern test.
But it truly was an enormous performance by the winner, in a time of 1:21.30 for the 1400 metres.
Tavistock paid $8.00 & $2.70.
Waddell (23), who won his first Waikato Draught Sprint aboard Kristov in 2006, said, “It’s beautiful, to win on a horse I care about so much, for people that I love that have stuck by me, it’s very rewarding.”
“I was always confident, but I’d rather be quietly confident than be outspoken”, Waddell added.
Thrilled with the victory, Campbell said, “He’s a bit of a bloody genius isn’t he? He’s always shown early speed and we were pretty confident going into the Telegraph (1200m) but the slow track tripped us up there. We were going to come here for the Darci Brahma (2000m), but we decided to have one more crack at 1400 metres to enhance his stud value, and I can’t wait to see him over ground.”
Tavistock was bred at Bloomsbury Stud by the Duchess of Bedford, Lady Henrietta Tavistock.