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Tijuana wins G2 Stutt Stakes, eyes Caulfield Guineas

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Tijuana-500x280.pngTijuana wins at Moonee ValleyTijuana, pictured after winning on ANZAC day, won the Group 2 Stutt Stakes on Friday night.

He might’ve had winkers on, but Tijuana can now look ahead and believe in his chances for the Caulfield Guineas.

That was the message from trainer Ben Hayes after his half-length victory in the $300,000 Group 2 Stutt Stakes at Moonee Valley on Friday night.

Mark Zahra made his move aboard the three-year-old colt at the 250m mark in the mile feature, and the $2.30 winning chance with Ladbrokes was too good from there.

A delighted Hayes said the Caulfield Guineas would be Tijuana’s next target on October 8.

“I think so. He put his hand up today. Nice aggressive ride by Mark,” Hayes told racing.com.

“He was able to travel much better with the winkers, and I really thought he ran out the mile nicely.

“Watching him through the line he kept going. That’s obviously a good sign.

“He’s had a good run over a mile, so hopefully he’s got a nice chance in the Caulfield Guineas now.”

Hayes reserved praise for Jarred Magnabosco, managing director of Best Bloodstock for his shrewd purchase.

“He’s definitely a horse on the up. He’s so exciting, and a big congratulations to Jarred,” Hayes said.

“It’s the first horse we’ve purchased together at the Magic Millions, and we’re having a bit of fun with him.

“We’re going to really enjoy the next couple of weeks leading into the race.

“It was such a big result for everyone. Jarred is a young syndicator now. He’s had a lot of success.

“And to have a horse in his first year of purchasing to get into the Caulfield Guineas is a huge result.

“I’m thrilled for them, I’m thrilled for all the team at home. They’ve been working really hard.”

Hayes said he wasn’t looking too far ahead to the Cox Plate on October 21.

“We’re keeping the dream alive. He’ll have to win the Caulfield Guineas for us to contemplate going to a Cox Plate,” he said.

“But after his win tonight he definitely put his hand up.”

Zahra said it was tough going early on before Tijuana’s class shone on the straight.

“He’s a very good horse. He jumped fair and I was a bit busy early. The way the track is playing, everyone wanted to have a piece of it,” he said.

“So I had to hold him a bit above his average there. But then he really relaxed well and got off Luke (Nolen on the fourth-placed He’s Heaven).

“I thought I’d hit the front at some stage. I was trying to guide him, and he actually had a look around when I got to the front.

“He pricked his ears, and when they came to him he found again through the line.”

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