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Tijuana on target for Caulfield Guineas

The Caulfield Guineas is likely to be the next stop for Tijuana following his win in the Stutt Stakes.

Tijuana has claimed a second stakes victory by riding the speed to claim the Stutt Stakes at Moonee Valley

The win on Friday night in the Group 2 race for three-year-olds over 1 m confirmed Tijuana's spring credentials and set him up for a start in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 8. 

Ridden by Mark Zahra, Tijuana, the $2.30 favourite, raced to a half-length win from Foujita San ($6) with Virtuous Circle ($15) a long neck away third. 

The Ben and J D Hayes-trained Tijuana scored at his first two starts as a two-year-old, including the Listed Anzac Day Stakes (1400m) at Flemington in April, before returning as a three-year-old to finish third at both outings. 

At his last start, Tijuana settled in a midfield position before working home to finish third behind the impressive Berkeley Square at Flemington on September 10. 

Riding to the pattern early in the program, Zahra had Tijuana in a forward position settling second behind He's Heaven before taking over on the home turn. 

"He's a very good horse. He only jumped fair, and it was a bit busy early and obviously the way the track is playing, everyone wanted to have a piece of it," Zahra said. 

"I had to hold him a bit above his average there, a bit above his comfort speed just to hold them out and then he relaxed really good. 

"There is a bit to look at here and he's a colt, so he had a bit of a look around. 

"They had the winkers on today which helped a bit, but he couldn't see what was coming. When he got a peep at them about the 100 or the 50 (metre mark) he found again." 

Ben Hayes said the stable would see how Tijuana recovers from Friday night's win, but the plan was to head to the Guineas. 

Tijuana also holds a nomination in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22 and had not ruled out an attempt at that race. 

"He's definitely a horse on the He's so exciting and a big congratulations to the Jarrod (Best Bloodstock)," Hayes said. 

"We're keeping the dream alive. He'll have to win the Caulfield Guineas to contemplate a Cox Plate, but on his win tonight he has put his hand up." 


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