An encouraging return to racing by Bravo Tango has signalled he is on track for his autumn goal and the colt will take another step towards his Guineas target when he runs in the Manfred Stakes.
The Mitchell Freedman-trained Bravo Tango closed strongly from last to finish third in the $250,000 Inglis Dash (1100m) at Flemington on January 20 behind boom sprinter Nature Strip and promising Prezado.
“He went into that race off the back of one trial and I was just really impressed with the way he hit the line,” Freedman said.
“Obviously it was only a sales restricted race but it looks to be a strong sales race with those first two horses finishing in front of him.”
Bravo Tango will again be ridden by Ben Melham in Saturday’s Group Three Manfred Stakes (1200m) for three-year-olds at Caulfield and Freedman said the lightly raced colt had made improvement between runs.
Bravo Tango is on the second line of betting in some early markets for the Group One Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 3, which Freedman has planned as the fourth run of his preparation.
“We’ve always thought he had the ability to measure up in some good races,” Freedman said.
“It was good to see him doing that first-up and hopefully he can keep improving in fitness and also a little bit in his race sense.
“If he can do that he’s certainly going to be competitive in that sort of a race .”
The Randwick Guineas, a week after the Australian Guineas, is another option.
Freedman said Bravo Tango had a solid gallop on Saturday morning, with Melham aboard, and an easier work-out on Tuesday to keep him ticking over for his second-up assignment.
Bravo Tango won two of his three starts in his first preparation last spring and finished second in the Listed Poseidon Stakes (1400m) before he was spelled with a view to the autumn.
The Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra-trained Prezado is also among the 16 Manfred Stakes nominations which are headed by the Darren Weir-trained Caulfield Classic winner Cliff’s Edge.
The Manfred is one of three stakes races on the Caulfield program along with the Group Three Chairman’s Stakes (1000m) for two-year-olds and the Listed W J Adams Stakes (1000m).
Crystal Dreamer heads the handicaps for the W J Adams Stakes with 60kg ahead of acceptances on Wednesday.