Day At The Track

Good news and bad news from Pizzuto

05:05 PM 07 Feb 2019 NZDT
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Tiger Tara,Harness racing
Tiger Tara is starting his comeback
Stuart McCormick photo

HARNESS racing’s man of the moment has good news and bad news for punters.

 The good news from trainer Kevin Pizzuto is his superstar pacer Tiger Tara may not be headed for retirement at the end of the season as he has suggested.

 The bad news is Pizzuto can’t shed any light on which one of his two market dominators will win tomorrow night’s $100,000 Ave Technologies Newcastle Mile.

 The Newcastle dash for cash has had a huge stakes boost and is now an automatic qualifying race for harness racing’s most important event, the $1million Miracle Mile at Menangle on March 2.

 While Tiger Tara is the undoubted poster boy of pacing and star of Pizzuto’s team his stablemates Majordan and Picard are also in career best form and give him a mighty one-two punch in tomorrow night’s sprint.

 But Pizzuto, rarely one to be short of an opinion, says he can’t split the pair.

 “There is nothing between them because Picard is flying,” he offers.

 “A lot will depend on who begins best and gets the lead, which is how they both race best.

 “But for punters I can’t split them.” That is testament to how far Picard has come in recent weeks as Majordan is the Newcastle track record holder after pacing 1:51.4 to win this race last season by 20m, albeit when it was worth a lot less and run in May.

 He was surprisingly caught by a race rival tomorrow night in Maximan in the closing stages of their clash at Menangle last Saturday night but that was after a blistering early 400m from a wide draw to reach the lead.

 Tomorrow night Majordan looks more likely to lead easily and then dictate the race and he has already shortened into $1.50 with the TAB as Picard drifted to $3, with the rivals that settle behind the pair likely to need to smash the clock to threaten them.

 If Picard does win and is automatically invited into the Miracle Mile, Pizzuto will have to choose between starting in it or the Chariots of Fire at Menangle on Saturday week as he can’t accept the Miracle Mile invite and start in another race beforehand.

Meanwhile, Pizzuto says Tiger Tara, who is sweeping all before him this season, could race on next term.

 “I said the other day when I was all pumped up that I was going to retire him next season but I reckon I might have another crack at the NZ Cup.

 “So that decision definitely isn’t confirmed yet. I just got a bit carried away.”


Michael Guerin

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