The diminutive Tarka (l) is primed for his biggest win in the Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick.
Sometime’s Tarka’s size or lack of it can put him at a disadvantage but his trainer David Payne believes it should help him on a heavy track at Randwick.
Tarka will run in Saturday’s Group One Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) as one of the favoured runners trying to get the better of Thinkin’ Big.
“He will definitely run and he has won on a heavy track but a lot depends on just how much more rain we get,” Payne said.
“He won the Stan Fox on a heavy eight but that was at Rosehill which is different from Randwick when it rains..
“He is a little horse though and being a light chap that might help him whereas some of the others are much bigger and heavier.”
Tarka weighs in at 464kg, about 50 to 70kg kg lighter than many of his opponents.
Payne trained last year’s Spring Champion winner Ace High who went on to claim the Victoria Derby which is also the aim for Tarka who ran second to the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Thinkin’ Big in the Gloaming Stakes last Saturday week.
Both Payne and jockey James McDonald felt the Gloaming was a missed opportunity for Tarka at the same time admitting Thinkin’ Big was again the one to beat.
“We are putting blinkers on Tarka,” Payne said.
“He lost focus last time and he was flat coming round the turn so hopefully if he concentrates we will see what he can do over 2000 metres.”
Tarka’s stablemate All Too Soon will make her return to black-type racing in the Group Three Angst Stakes (1600m) for mares.
All Too Soon was on an Oaks path earlier in the year but pulled up lame after the Group One Vinery Stud Stakes and was rested.
She is by All Too Hard out of Gallant Tess, a three-time stakes winner and multiple Group One placegetter trained by Payne for Ace High’s owner John Cordina.
Early fears the mare’s injury to a hock might recur have so far been unfounded with the four-year-old winning one of her four starts this campaign and finishing just behind the placegetters in two others.
Three of her four wins and two of her four placings have come on rain-affected ground.
“I’m sure she’ll handle it no matter how heavy,” Payne said.