A STEP back to city grade may not be too far away for Tatunka following the exciting four-year-old's third career win at Seymour last Thursday.
The Bob Donat-trained gelding, who only this month returned from a seven and a half month spell, proved too slick for his rivals over 1200m at his second start back.
It was a performance Donat said had impressed his jockey Dylan Dunn, who rode the son of Redente at his lone Victorian metropolitan start last September, at Flemington.
"Dylan reckons he's city material, but we will wait and see," the trainer said.
"He had a little bit of a problem the last time he went to Flemington and that's why he went out for a spell.
"It was certainly nothing to worry about and he is right now."
Tatunka has shown considerable promise from the moment he stepped on the racetrack, winning his maiden on debut at Kyneton in February last year.
The gelding racked up an unlucky three seconds from his next five starts before notching win number two on his home track at Bendigo last August.
He then copped plenty of interference in finishing down the field at Flemington, before re-emerging earlier this month at Ballarat.
Donat said he was pleased with the first-up fourth of his mare Red Cracker, also at Seymour, over 1100m, but a little disappointed in the three-year-old Kwahadi, who finished fourth in the three-year-old maiden, despite starting as the favourite.
With all three of the stable's runner up and about, the Bendigo trainer is looking forward to a busier three months ahead after a quiet autumn.
"They're just winter horses and I wanted them all coming back in together," he said.
"Tatunka goes well. The one in the first race (Kwahadi), he's a full brother to Tatunka. He's got the same ability, but he's a little bit immature.
"His time will come - he's a lovely horse.
"And Red Cracker ran good."
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.