Above: Tagaloa. Picture: Racing Photos

Trainers Natalie Young and Trent Busuttin couldn’t be happier with star Tagaloa ahead of Saturday’s Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield.

The Blue Diamond-winning two-year-old was saved from last Saturday’s Danehill Stakes following a tough first-up run in the McNeil Stakes with connections keen to give him extra time between runs.

Tagaloa spent most of his trip in the McNeil three-wide and only narrowly went down in a tight finish, with a bob of the head seeing him into third.

But the stable is confident he has rebounded well from the gut-buster and Young is believes they have found a nice race to add another Group 1 to the colt’s resume.

“Really happy with the way he is. Had a really nice quiet week after the McNeil,” Young said.

“It was a hard run, he did it tough, he was three deep and it was only really a bob of the head. There wasn’t much in it, his stride was coming up when the other heads were going down.

“We gave him a nice quiet week. He had nice gallop (Saturday) morning. (Jockey Michael) Walker came in and galloped him and he’s rapt with how he pulled up.

“He will have another gallop on Tuesday and he should be sorted for the Group 1 Rupert Clarke.”

Tagaloa will carry 54kg in the Rupert Clarke, where he is a $11 chance with Sportsbet. The horse is heading towards the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas where he is currently rated a $11 chance.

“He will get in with 54kg … it would have been nice if it was post-COVID because then it would be 52kg,” Young said of the Rupert Clarke.

“But it’s a nice weight and I know he loves Caulfield so I think that’s the best way to go, targeting that Group 1.”

Meanwhile, Cups-bound stayer Mirage Dancer will run in Saturday’s Group 3 Naturalism Stakes.

The former import made a pleasing return in the Heatherlie Stakes (1700m) and Young said the entire was ready for the step up to 2000m.

“I think he looks better going into this race than first-up. First-up his coat wasn’t quite there, but this time he’s got a bit of gloss,” she said.

“He worked really great (Saturday) too, so he’s definitely flying around on the right track. 2000m will be right up his alley. It will be a nice race.

“(We) thought it was a better path to go, starting off in a Heatherlie with the 1700m first up, rather than the 1400m where they’re always a bit sharp for him. He’s trained on really nicely.”

Article courtesy of Racing.com