The $2.5 million TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick is the next port of call for Tivaci to chase an elusive Group One win in his final preparation before retiring to stud.
Tivaci was placed twice at the top level in the Toorak Handicap and Cantala Stakes last spring while the four-year-old was a luckless fifth in the Newmarket Handicap earlier this month.
The Mike Moroney-trained entire will stand at Waikato Stud in New Zealand this spring but there are still a few opportunities for an important Group One win, starting with Saturday’s weight-for-age sprint.
“He’s always shown Group One ability so we’ve chased it all the way through, knowing that he was up to it,” Moroney said.
Tivaci won the Listed Kensington Stakes first-up in January and was blocked for a run in the Newmarket, finishing 2-1/2 lengths from the winner Redkirk Warrior.
“I thought he probably should have run second,” Moroney said.
“I know Patrick (Moloney) thought he might have made it interesting with the winner, but it’s hard to know.
“But he certainly looked the only one who really got held up in the race.”
Moroney said rising to weight-for-age was not really ideal but was still the most suitable option for Tivaci, with the All Aged Stakes (1400m) two weeks later also on the radar.
Tivaci, to be ridden by Damien Oliver, is at $15 in a field of 15 with Chautauqua $4.60 favourite to win his third-straight TJ Smith.
“He had a jump-out last Friday and he went terrific so everything seems on target,” Moroney said.
“It’s just going to be whether he can handle it at weight-for-age.
“But he’s a big powerful horse and I think he’s now a better horse than the last time he ran at weight-for-age which was in a 2000-metre race.
“He’s going to be a very interesting runner because it looks like 1200 to 1400 metres is his right trip now.”
Tivaci finished 11th in the Group One weight-for-age Emirates Stakes (2000m) at the end of his spring campaign.No tags for this post.