The Group II ATC Stan Fox Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday over 1500 metres featured a field packed with potential classic horses and while previously unbeaten colt The Autumn Sun was luckless in finishing third, the first two across the line in Tarka and Dealmaker are clearly horses on the up.

Prepared by David Payne and ridden by James McDonald, Tarka had won his past two starts in easier grade carrying a whopping 61kg to victory in a Benchmark 66 event over 1600 metres at Warwick Farm last month.

That gritty performance stood in him in good stead and despite taking on experienced stakes horses, Tarka produced another tenacious effort to power home and claim a nose win over talented Dundeel colt Dealmaker with The Autumn Sun a late closing third after encountering a traffic jam coming up the straight.

“I think he’s a Derby horse, he’s so tough,” said James McDonald.

“Nobody was tipping him, but I told my manager not many three year-olds can win under 61 kg. He just keeps trying.”

A homebred for Kia Ora, Tarka has three wins and a third from five starts with prizemoney just shy of $160,000.

“He keeps surprising us!” said David Payne.

“He’s not very big, but he just keeps improving. I think the further he goes the better, so we’ll look towards the Gloaming Stakes and Spring Champion Stakes.”

The sixth stakes-winner for Black Caviar’s half-brother All Too Hard, Tarka is the third winner from Gayika, a full sister to South African Horse of the Year Igugu and half-sister to Group III winner Honorius.

Kia Ora sold a Deep Field colt from Gayika for $170,000 at Inglis Classic this year with David Payne the buyer, while Gayika herself was also sold at the 2018 Inglis Broodmare Sale fetching $23,000 when bought by Kingstar Farm and was covered by Bull Point this week.

Copy: Breednet, Image: Steve Hart