But the three-year-old colt's trainer,and driver were both surprised by the neck victory.
"I thought he was flat going into his this race and I did not expect this win. I had his bloods taken during the week and they returned nothing. After last week's run (sixth) I thought he'd go average tonight. It was a pleasant surprise," Dunn said.
O'Reilly said he would have just been happy to place after his lack lustre performance in the Derby Prelude seven nights ago.
"That was ordinary and even though we won tonight I still don't think he was at 100 per cent. It's very hard to believe the quarters he ran because he can go better than what he did tonight," said driver O'Reilly.
Tiger Tara, who was having his second start at Alexandra Park, paced a sensational 54.5 last half, which included a 27.4 last quarter. He stopped the clock in 3:18.10. His winning mile rate for the 2700m mobile was a slick 1:54.8.
They are very good times considering favourite Locharburn andset a leisurely pace for the first half of the race.
But they didn't count on Tiger Tara whipping along the passing lane to get the chocolates. Maxim () was 1-1/2 lengths back in third.
Tiger Tara was the second favourite and paid $4.40 to win.
He is owned by Dunn, R. L. Sandford & Mrs J. A. Sandford, and J. S. Gould. His breeder was R. P. Anicich.
He has now won seven of his 18 starts and placed in seven others for $277,375 in stakes.
by Duane Ranger (Courtesy of HRNZ)