Day At The Track

The "Tiger" is New Zealand Cup bound

10:08 AM 15 Sep 2014 NZST
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Tiger Tara - Looking like he belongs in the top grade
Tiger Tara - Looking like he belongs in the top grade
Tiger Tara

The dream is fast becoming a reality for team Tiger Tara.

The gritty four-year-old rocketed his way into New Zealand Trotting Cup contention with a professional victory in the time-honoured Hannon Memorial at Oamaru yesterday.

And for Bob and Jen Sandford along with their co-owners John Gould and and Geoff Dunn – who also does the training – things are starting to fall into place nicely.

The intention was never to push Tiger Tara toward a Cup start, but it was instead to let him find his own feet.

Something he is doing in style.

A bold second to Christen Me in the Maurice Holmes Vase pointed toward a big showing from the Sires’ Stakes Final winner of last season and he didn’t disappoint.

“It’s all getting a bit exciting,’’ Bob Sandford said after the race.

“To be honest we probably didn’t have too many expectations coming into this prep, we were just happy to see how things panned out.

“But it looks now like we might get a shot at the big one.’’

Handled expertly by Gerard O’Reilly, Tiger Tara jumped out of the one out one back position rounding the final bend and his blistering speed got him to the line.

And while in reflection that might not seem like anything special – especially considering that none of the big guns of this year’s Cup were in attendance for the race – when you break the performance down, it’s full of merit.

He’s run his last 800 metres in better than 55.5 second and clocked his last mile in 1.55 as well.

O’Reilly was forced to move a lot sooner than he had hoped which left the pair a sitting duck but when Four Starzzz Flash ranged up to win at the 150 metre mark, Tiger Tara kicked.

The win should see him move high up into the Top 15 rankings for the Cup when the next round is released tomorrow afternoon.

Dunn wouldn’t commit to where he was headed next but he gave an indication that it would probably be more likely to be the Canterbury Classic next month as opposed to the Avon City Ford Cup next Friday night.

“We will have to sit down and have a think about that one.’’

Four Starzzz Flash looked a lot more like his old self with a barnstorming finish to run second.

“He’s a funny horse, you need to keep him on the job and up on the nickel,’’ Dexter Dunn said.

“He just got held up for long enough that I think it might have cost him going close, but Geoff’s horse was always going to keep fighting.’’

Pure Power, who led the field throughout and set up a 3.14.4 time for the 2600 metre stand – the third fastest running of the Hannon – finished third, but was later relegated to fourth behind Pass Them By after it was deemed the big pacer had shifted across the track and into the line of the Tim Butt trained runner. 

Courtesy Matt Markham - Harness Racing New Zealand



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