Tutukaka (NZ) Too Strong in Geelong Classic

21 October 2021

Melody Belle's half-brother, Tutukaka (NZ), wins the Listed Roderick Insurance Brokers Geelong Classic (2200m). Photo: Reg Ryan.

A half-brother to 14-time Group One winner Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands), talented Karaka graduate Tutukaka (NZ) (Tavistock) earned his own shot at the big time with a powerful performance in Wednesday’s A$200,000 Listed Roderick Insurance Brokers Geelong Classic (2200m). 

Bought by trainer Tony Pike for $250,000 from Book 1 of Karaka 2020, the promising gelding has now had seven starts for two wins – both at Listed level – and earned more than $233,000 in stakes.

Wednesday’s three-year-old feature was Tutukaka’s audition for the A$2m Group One Penfolds Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on October 30, and the promising Kiwi showed that was right up to the mark.

Ridden by Damian Lane, Tutukaka settled in the back half of the field behind a strong early speed. When Lane brought him to the outside and released the brakes in the home straight, Tutukaka reeled in the leaders and swept to an emphatic victory by three-quarters of a length.

Lane described Wednesday’s win as a substantial improvement from Tutukaka’s last-start fifth in the Listed Super Impose Stakes (1800m) at Flemington on October 2.

“He led at a strong tempo with the blinkers on last start and was still a bit fresh, and that run has really brought him on,” Lane said. “Credit to Tony Pike, he’s such a good trainer of these young stayers, and the horse was really good today.

“The pace was perfect for him. Tony had said he wanted to try riding him a bit quieter, but I wasn’t sure if today was the day to do that – there didn’t seem to be that much tempo in the race on paper. Luckily it turned out to be a good pace, and a genuinely run 2200m was always going to really suit this horse. He was obviously the strongest late.

“I think he’ll handle the step up to 2500m for the Derby. He’s a tough horse who’s always shown that he wants a trip. Hopefully, in 10 days’ time, he’ll be right there at the finish.”

With Pike remaining on home soil due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, Tutukaka’s Victoria Derby preparation is being overseen by Mornington-based Tony Noonan.

“I’ve been good mates with Tony and known his family for more than 30 years, and I was honoured for him to ring me,” Noonan said. “He’s a good trainer. He just knew what he wanted to do with this horse, and he’s upped the ante and he’s got him spot on.

“Tony thought that from that gate it would be best getting some cover, and Damian gave him a great ride. He got a good track into the race and hit the line impressively.

“He’s a lovely big horse and he relaxed beautifully today, so he’s heading in the right direction.”

Tutukaka provided the first leg of a remarkable double at Geelong on Wednesday for the former Cambridge Stud stallion Tavistock (NZ), who also sired the Group Three Geelong Cup (2400m) heroine Tralee Rose (NZ).

Vendor Haunui Farm
Purchaser Pike Racing (Waikato)
Breeding Tavistock – Meleka Belle
Sale Lot 86, Karaka 2020 Book 1, $250,000
Bred by Mrs N M Leicester