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IN a shock twist Inter Dominion champion Tiger Tara won’t tackle Saturday night’s $100,000 Group 1 Ballarat Cup. He’s the second big name in the space of just a few hours to pull out of Victoria’s biggest country cup. It follows Cran Dalgety’s decision to skip Ballarat and wait another week for the $100,000 Group 1 4YO Bonanza with Shepparton Cup winner Im Pats Delight. Tiger Tara was a clear prepost favourite for Ballarat before Pizzuto revealed his change of plans. “He’s right where I want him and I don’t want to have to take him down to Melbourne twice or have to leave him there for the time between Ballarat and the Hunter Cup,” he said. “I’ve got lots on at home with Majordan getting ready for the Miracle Mile and Picard for the Chariots Of Fire. I’m not just a one-horse trainer. “He doesn’t need to race at Ballarat. He’s very fit and I can sharpen him at home before the Hunter Cup.” Tiger Tara stepped-out for the first time since his stunning Melbourne Inter Dominion win when he toyed with a moderate field at Menangle last night. Todd McCarthy worked to the front and let Tiger Tara roll for a scorching 1min53.8sec mile rate iver the longer 2300m trip. He closed off in 54.2 and 26.6sec. With Tiger Tara and Im Pats Delight, the All Stars’ trio of Cruz Bromac, Thefixer and Spankem should dominate Ballarat.   Adam Hamilton

In a surprise twist, a planned Perth raid has been scrapped from Inter Dominion champion Tiger Tara. Trainer Kevin Pizzuto, who just a week earlier had confirmed the trip, pulled the pin yesterday (Thursday). “In the end, I’ve put the horse first,” Pizzuto said. “I know I said he was going and I was keen to, but I had some time to think everything through during the week after Christmas. “What made me re-think it all was the stinking hot weather had up here. It’s flattened most horses and must have taken something out of him as well. “To ask him to go the long trip to Perth, after he’s already been to NZ and had two trips down to Melbourne this season, was asking to much when I really thought it through. “Travel is hard on horses, especially when it’s hot this time of year. I’d hate to flatten him with a trip to Perth after I’ve worked so hard to get him the best I’ve ever had him.” WA’s loss is Victoria’s gain, with Pizzuto confirming the revised schedule will see Tiger Tara’s next major target – and probably next race – be the $100,000 Group 1 Ballarat Cup on January 19. Then comes the $500,000 Hunter Cup at Melton two week’s later. “He’s very fit. I know it’ll be five weeks between runs when he goes to Ballarat, but he won’t need a race. I can trial him, even give him two trials if needed,” Pizzuto said. “I know the Perth people wanted to see him, but I’m sure I’ve made the right decision by the horse now. “He can go to those two races in Victoria then come back home where I’ve got the Newcastle Mile or one of the Miracle Mile lead-up races ahead of the Miracle Mile itself. “The Miracle Mile isn’t the most suitable race for him because he’s a real stayer, but if I change-up his training I think I can get some more speed into him. “I’ve already got Majordan I’m setting for the Miracle Mile as well. I’d say he’ll go to the Newcastle Mile.” With Tiger Tara out of the Fremantle (January 11) and WA Pacing Cups (January 18), reigning Miracle Mile winner My Field Marshal has assumed dominant favouritism for both races after his easy Gloucester Park win last Friday night. Best of the locals appear to be dual Inter Dominion finalist Galactic Star, his emerging stablemate Vampiro and exciting four-year-olds like Ana Malak and Mighty Conqueror. Adam Hamilton

Last year’s Inter Dominion winner Tiger Tara is on track for this month’s Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups at Gloucester Park, according to trainer Kevin Pizzuto. Tiger Tara blew his rivals away in the Inter Dominion at Melton on December 15 and stamped himself as the one to beat for the Perth features. Pizzuto said Tiger Tara, who also finished second in the New Zealand Cup last November, had been on light duties following his Inter Dominion success. “He had a week off, but he track worked well this morning,” he told TABradio. “I’ll be coming to Perth on Tuesday or Wednesday night, I’ll just have to see what the flights are.” Pizzuto brought Tiger Tara to Perth for the 2017 Inter Dominion series. The eight-year-old won a heat of that series at Bunbury, while was placed in the other two heats at Gloucester Park, before finishing second to Lazarus in the final. Pizzuto said Tiger Tara would need to be every bit as good to win the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups as he was in the past two Inter Dominions. “He’s about the same now as he was (in the Inter Dominion),” he said. “He’s just got to be good on the day. “I hope it’s good competition and I think it will be.” Tiger Tara will join fellow east coast visitor My Field Marshal, pictured above, in Perth, who blew his rivals away in last Friday night’s Group 2 Village Kid Pace at Gloucester Park. Pizzuto said he had great respect for My Field Marshal, who beat Tiger Tara in their most recent clash in last year’s Miracle Mile. Following My Field Marshal’s win on Friday night, trainer Tim Butt said he wasn’t deterred by the Inter Dominion winner’s presence in Perth. “Field Marshal has got a good record against Tiger Tara,” he said. “We’re not too worried about him coming. “It all comes down to the draw and who’s right on the night.” Meanwhile, a number of local hopefuls for the upcoming Cups will be out to strengthen their claims for a spot in the feature events in this Friday night’s Free-For-All. Mitch Maguire, Runrunjimmydunn, Natural Disaster, Im Full Of Excuses, Vultan Tin and Mr Mojito are all in the mix to run in the Free-For-All after last week’s Village Kid. The runner-up from last week’s feature Our Max Phactor has been nominated for this week’s Standing Start event. Final acceptances for the meeting will be taken later this afternoon.   Tim Walker

INTER Dominion-winning trainer Kevin Pizzuto thinks he can win the first $1 million Miracle Mile. But it’s not with Tiger Tara, who gave him the biggest win of his career last Saturday in the Inter Dominion final at Melton. Pizzuto is priming one of Australia’s fastest pacers, Majordan, for the newly boosted $1 million Ainsworth Miracle Mile – up from $750,000 last year – at Menangle on March 2. “I’m sure he can go at least at 1min47sec,” Pizzuto said. “He’s a genuine speedster and that’s his focus. “We left him at home instead of going to the Inter Dominion so we could keep him to mile racing.” Majordan has won eight of his 14 starts since being bought by US-based owners Marc Hanover and Gordon Banks. Two of those wins have been in 1min49.3sec and his career-best 1min49.2sec miles at Menangle. “He’s had a couple of weeks off since he made it three wins on end (December 8, Menangle) and will be back racing towards the end of January,” Pizzuto said. A logical target is another boosted race, the $100,000 Group 1 Newcastle Mile on February 8, where the winner is guaranteed a spot in the Miracle Mile. Majordan’s one Newcastle start saw him smash the track record winning the Group 3 Ross Gigg Mile in a 1min51.4sec mile back on May 26, this year. Pizzuto revealed Tiger Tara may not even chase the Miracle Mile. “He can’t go in everything and the sprint races don’t suit him as much, he’s a stayer,” he said. “If we go to Perth for their big races, which is looking likely, and back for the Hunter Cup in Melbourne then I’ll probably give him a break after that.” Meanwhile, reigning Miracle Mile champ My Field Marshal has settled well in Perth since arriving in the early hours of Thursday morning. Trainer Tim Butt confirmed My Field Marshal would open his Perth raid in the $50,000 Group 2 Village Kid Pace (1730m) at Gloucester Park next Friday night (December 28). Then comes the $300,000 Group 1 Fremantle Cup on January 11 and the $450,000 Group 1 WA Pacing Cup a week later.   Adam Hamilton

Sydneysiders will have the opportunity to celebrate all of the harness racing action and excitement of Tiger Tara's unforgettable win in the $500,000 Group 1 Interdominion Grand Final Pacing Championship at his home track, Sydney's Bankstown Paceway, this coming Friday, December 21st, 2018.   "All of Sydney is keen to salute this amazing win by our locally trained eight-year-old, by Bettors Delight USA out of Tara Gold NZ, who is trained right here at Bankstown Paceway by Kevin Pizzuto, and whose ID effort will now forever be enshired in the annals of history," Bankstown Paceway vice president David Rosen told Harnesslink from Melbourne's Melton Park.   "Owned by the Hawli and Pizzuto families, and driven to his easy and unforgettable Melton win by Todd McCarthy, the winner of Bankstown's 2017 Schweppes Sydney Cup now boasts an impressive $1.9 million in career prizemoney," Mr Rosen said.   "So, back home in Sydney, locals can celebrate Tiger's incredable win at Bankstown Paceway's Family Christmas Race Night this coming Friday, December 21st, 2018 - with Bankstown's Food Night Markets open from 5 pm and the first race scheduled to commence at 7:03 pm," he said. "Friday's big Bankstown race night will also feature free children's activities, face painting and a jumping castle among the many food stalls - and, best of all, entry is free," Mr Rosen added. Megan J. Lavender

INTER Dominion hero Tiger Tara has thrived since his stunning win and is headed to Perth. Trainer Kevin Pizzuto said as long as suitable flights can be locked-in, Tiger Tara will tackle the $300,000 Group 1 Fremantle Cup on January 11 and the $450,000 WA Pacing Cup a week later. Both races are at Gloucester Park. “He’s come through like he hasn’t even had a run,” Pizzuto said. “He’s too well not to go to Perth. Plus the prizemoney is so good and he loves the small track. “As long as I can sort the right flights, and they tell me that should be fine, he’ll go there.” Miracle Mile winner My Field Marshal is another headed to Perth after a stunning return to racing with a win at Menangle yesterday (Monday). My Field Marshal drew wide, worked hard early, grabbed a midrace trail then gunned-down heavily-backed stablemate Raukapuka Ruler to win running away by 2.3m in a 1min50.9sec mile. He was timed to run a 53.8sec last half. “This is the best preparation he’s had for a long time. He always seemed to have it under control today, either when our horse kicked away with a big lead. He gathered him in quickly,” Butt said. Yesterday’s race was transferred from last Saturday night when the Menangle meeting was washed-out. “It’s turned out perfectly really. He now heads to Melbourne, has a day in a yard down there and flies out to Perth on Wednesday night,” Butt said. “I was keen to get him there for a lead-up race and he’ll have that in the sprint at Gloucester Park on December 28.” Butt’s other stable star, Let It Ride, will stay in Victoria for his lead-up racing towards the Hunter Cup on February 2. “I just think he needed the run when he was beaten the other night (second to Conviction in a free-for-all at Melton last Saturday),” Butt said. “There’s lot of good options for him in Victoria. He can have four runs close together, then a week’s break and into the Ballarat then Hunter Cups.” Adam Hamilton

Tiger Tara’s TAB Inter Dominion Pacing Championship win at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night capped an extraordinary year for harness racing trainer Kevin Pizzuto and his family. In August the New South Wales horseman was involved in a serious road accident, which could have cost him and his horses their lives. Aboard the float that day were Tiger Tara and three stablemates, with Pizzuto in the driver’s seat. Another driver ran through a stop sign and a collision was unavoidable. The resultant impact fractured the horseman’s sternum and ribs, tore his ligaments in both arms as the steering wheel shattered in two, and left him with hidden scars every time he thought of taking the road again. But bloodied and broken that day, Pizzuto’s thoughts were only on his horses. “My driver came and got the horses which I’d gotten off the float … and then I went to hospital,” Pizzuto said. “He (Tiger Tara) was lying down up the front of the float and I thought he’d broken his back. I was shattered. I had blood coming out everywhere, but when he got up, my heart, yeah ... just relief.” Two months after the accident Tiger Tara pummelled his rivals in the Group 1 Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup. Then, in November he produced one of the gutsiest runner-up efforts in modern times when second in the Group 1 New Zealand Cup. “I’ve always said he’s the toughest horse in the land… I knew he was good, but last night, that was something else,” Pizzuto said of the ID18 win. “I’ve had him better than I’ve ever had him, this prep. We’ve had our ups and downs but we’ve pulled ourselves up and that was amazing.” Tiger Tara, with gun reinsman Todd McCarthy aboard, took up the front-running role early in Saturday night’s Grand Circuit decider and went on to break rivals’ hearts off the back with an unforgettable 26.3secs third quarter. The son of Bettors Delight got up the lane in 27.9 to rate 1:53.9 over the 2760m trip, McCarthy’s winning salute encapsulating the glory in a snap. And the final twist, Pizzuto’s daughter Courtney accepted Mikey Hawli’s marriage proposal on track in front of the huge crowd after the victory. Courtney said yes, and so did Kev. “He had to ask me first,” Pizzuto said. “The horses were scoring up... I was praying we’d win after that. He’s a good bloke and a hard worker.” Trots Media - Cody Winnell   Trots Media - Cody Winnell

TIGER ROARS TO VICTORY IN TRACK RECORD TIME Sydneysider Tiger Tara was a brilliant victor of the $500,000 (Group 1) 2018 TAB Inter Dominion Pacing Championship Grand Final over 2760 metres at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night, winning by a 14.4 metre margin in advance of roughie Our Uncle Sam, Cruz  Bromac and Spankem in a mile rate of 1-53.9 which took .2 seconds off Lazarus’ 1-54.9 established last year. Trained to perfection by Kevin Pizzuto at Rossmore, Tiger Tara with regular reinsman Todd McCarthy aboard, began with a wing on every foot from outside the front line to cross outsider Mach Doro (gate four) which had speared past polemarker Galactic Star as the starter released the field. Galactic Star was to gallop on the first turn causing inconvenience to Im Pats Delight (gate three} which allowed Mattie Craven (gate two) to angle to the back of Mach Doro and San Carlo to shift off the inside to park in the open giving Im Pats Delight one/one cover. The highly fancied “All Stars” stablemates Spankem (gate five) and Cruz Bromac (gate two on the second line) settled three and four back in the moving line, with Cruz Bromac momentarily moving three wide before easing back to trail Spankem. Once the speed slackened, Gavin Lang sent Im Pats Delight forward to park in the open, with Bec Bartley shortly after sending San Carlo forward to face the breeze. The order remained the same until the bell when Mark Purdon and Spankem eased three wide to start a forward move, with Natalie Rasmussen (Cruz Bromac) immediately latching to his back for a sweet ride home and Our Uncle Sam  (one/three) trailing the pair. Given full rein prior to the home turn, Tiger Tara bounded away with Spankem and Cruz Bromac giving chase as San Carlo started to give ground with Im Pats Delight again being hampered. Well clear on straightening, Tiger Tara simply toyed with his rivals, with Our Uncle Sam giving Anthony Frisby the “thrill of a lifetime” by running into second place, Cruz Bromac third, Spanken fourth and Im Pats Delight a game fifth after not enjoying any luck at all after copping more cheques than a bank teller. In quarters of 30.1, 28.7, 26.3 and 27.9 for the last mile, Tiger Tara ran his rivals ragged, prompting Kevin Pizzuto who was lost for words to comment after the race how this horse is “unbelievable”. A 8Y0 entire by Bettors Delight from the Dream Away mare Tara Gold, Tiger Tara must have a wonderful constitution after this season being involved in a horrific car accident which tipped the float over threatening his racing career, before travelling to Victoria to claim the Victoria Cup, then heading across the Tasman to finish a nose second in the New Zealand Cup to Thefixer after racing exposed prior to the ID campaign which saw him win one heat with two placings. For Todd McCarthy who has developed into one of Australia’s top reinsmen, the victory gave him without doubt his biggest moment in harness racing. Raced by the Pizzuto family and M. Hawli, Tiger Tara has fronted the starter 99 times for 31 wins and 37 placings for stake earnings in excess of $1,960,000. THE TROTTERS  Most were of the opinion that the 2760 metre $150,000 (Group 1) ID Trotters Grand Final would be taken out by Andy and Kate Gath’s star Kiwi bred 7Y0 Skyvalley-Begin gelding Tornado Valley (gate six) unbeaten through the heats, or John Dickie’s North Islander Speeding Spur due to the fact that he came up with the coveted pole line draw, but it was Tornado Hanover to continue on his winning way. Raced by long time stable client – Queensland developer Norm Jenkin who has raced among others duel New Zealand Cup winner Flashing Red, Tornado Valley began at 100 miles an hour to lead running into the first turn, with Speeding Spur unable to match him settling in the trail. Big Jack Hammer (gate five) in the open and Save Our Pennys (gate three) one/one being trailed by Tough Monarch quickly away from inside the second line and Kyvalley Blur (gate three on the second line). Monty Python (gate two) possied three back the markers with Rompers Monarchy following him. While Sky Petite after starting outside the front line had no option but to go back to the rear of the field. Always travelling well within himself, Tornado Valley never ever looked in any danger, scoring easily by 10 metres from Sky Petite (three wide solo last lap) from the tail which ran the race of her life for Ryan Duffy and Mick Stanley, with Speeding Spur a disappointing third 8.6 metres away. Monty Python was fourth and Save Our Pennys fifth. In quarters of 30.3, 29.5, 29.1 and 28.4 for the last mile, Tornado Valley returned a mile rate of 1-59.5. It was Tornado Valley’s 24th success in 78 outings which include 23 placings for stakes of $412,887. Harness Racing Australia

Having knocked on the door and been brave so often Tiger Tara bashed it down with a barnstorming victory in the 2018 TAB Pacing Inter Dominion Championship. A take-no-prisoners Todd McCarthy drive shot Kevin Pizzuto’s pacer to the lead in the early stages and with a 26.2-second third quarter and a track record smashing 1:53.9 mile rate he broke their hearts to salute in style. After an enormous campaign that stretches back to October’s Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup win and a brave second in the New Zealand Trotting Cup, McCarthy and Tiger Tara got the one they wanted: the $500,000 Group 1. “I think it’s going to take a while to sink in but at the moment it’s unbelievable,” McCarthy said. “They are sensational these nights. The crowd is amazing, just an unbelievable atmosphere. To be able to win these sorts of races is something you dream about as a kid, to be able to come here and do it tonight is pretty special.” After enormous consternation surrounded race tactics during the week the game plan was thrown out when Mach Doro crossed to the lead in the early stages before handing up to Tiger Tara. Victorian hope San Carlo emerged from the pegs and would punch the breeze for much of the running, but the favoured All Stars pair Spankem and Cruz Bromac wouldn’t emerge to make their challenge until the final lap. With a blistering third quarter of the final mile Tiger Tara found separation and that was all she wrote, saluting by 14.4m from a fantastic Our Uncle Sam with Spankem and Cruz Bromac filling out the first four. But the night belonged to one. “He felt really good,” McCarthy said. “He got a bit of a breather nice and early there and I knew it was going to be on in the last three quarters. He felt good down the back straight and I thought it was time to go and if we were good enough we’d be good enough. It worked out terrific, he’s such a gutsy horse and I’m so lucky to drive him.”   Michael Howard Trots Media 8 9:45pm TAB INTER DOMINION PACING CHAMPIONSHIP GRAND FINAL (GROUP 1) 2760M $500,000 M0 Or Better. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 TIGER TARA NZ      Fr7 7 Kevin Pizzuto Todd McCarthy   $ 6.00   PRS GS L 1 SWAB ST HT NTR D/S D/F   BAY HORSE 8 by BETTORS DELIGHT USA out of TARA GOLD (NZ) (DREAM AWAY USA)  Owner(s): M Hawli, C L Pizzuto, K J Pizzuto, T N Pizzuto  Breeder(s): R P (Raymond) Anicich 2 OUR UNCLE SAM      Sr3 10 Chris Frisby Anthony Frisby 14.4m $ 34.50   PRS PRU W3 SWAB ST HT 3 CRUZ BROMAC NZ      Sr2 9 M Purdon, N C Rasmussen Natalie Rasmussen 15.8m $ 4.00   PRS T/F W2 3WLT SWAB ST HT 4 SPANKEM NZ      Fr5 5 M Purdon, N C Rasmussen Mark Purdon 18.6m $ 3.50 fav  PRS 3WL W1 5 IM PATS DELIGHT NZ      Fr3 3 Cran Dalgety Gavin Lang 23.5m $ 5.80   PRS 4 INC SCT 6 GALACTIC STAR NZ      Fr1 1 G F J Bond, S A Bond Ryan Warwick 24.4m $ 8.00   PRS GS CB RES 6 7 CANT REFUSE NZ      Fr2 2 Matthew Craven Matthew Craven 24.6m $ 98.10   PRS PRU 5 HUE USL 8 CASH N FLOW NZ      Sr5 13 Craig Cross John Caldow 25.4m $ 179.00   PRS PRU 7 HUE 9 WRAPPERS DELIGHT      Sr4 11 David Aiken Kima Frenning 26.3m $ 49.30   PRS SCT 6 10 SAN CARLO      Sr1 8 Stephen O'Donoghue Rebecca Bartley 28.3m $ 9.50   PRS PRU CTS D/F 3WM 2 QUER VXAR SCOPE 11 MACH DORO      Fr4 4 Craig Cross Luke McCarthy 35.8m $ 176.00   PRS GS L SLE 3 CMP 12 MAXIMAN NZ      Fr6 6 S P Tritton, L R Tritton Lauren Tritton 70.7m $ 124.00   PRS RES CTS PH 10 TIRE QUER VXAR SCOPE Scratchings   AUDI HARE NZ 12 Track Rating: GOOD Gross Time: 3:15:3 Mile Rate: 1:53:9 Lead Time: 82.3 First Quarter: 30.1 Second Quarter: 28.7 Third Quarter: 26.3 Fourth Quarter: 27.9 Margins: 14.4m x 1.4m  

It was a day in August that harness racing Kevin Pizzuto will never forget – the day he thought his Inter Dominion dream for Tiger Tara was over. The owner-trainer was taking his star with a couple of other horses to work at Bankstown from his Leppington base when  another car went through a stop sign. “A lady pulled out in front of me, going straight through a stop sign. I t-boned her and the truck smashed into two trees,” Pizzuto said. “I’m still trying to get over it . . . I’m really scared of driving. I’m still scared on the road at the moment. To read the full story in the Sydney Morning Herald click on this link.

WA’s sole 2018 Inter Dominion representative Galactic Star has arrived in Melbourne ahead of the Saturday night’s opening round of heats at Melton. The Greg and Skye Bond-trained pacer won a heat of last year’s Inter Dominion series at Bunbury, before he went on to finish fifth in the final. Galactic Star travelled to Melbourne overnight and arrived this morning, with Greg Bond reporting the six-year-old travelled well and was in good order ahead of light work today. Galactic Star has had two starts for two wins this campaign, the Don Randall Memorial at Pinjarra and the Pat Cranley Memorial 11 days later at Gloucester Park. He has drawn barrier four for Saturday night’s heat, which will be the second of three Inter Dominion heats on the night. Todd McCarthy has the drive on Galactic Star in the early part of the series, with regular driver Ryan Warwick remaining in Perth to drive in local feature races. Mach Doro and Franco Nelson have drawn barriers one and two respectively in Galactic Star’s heat, while the in-form pair San Carlo and Shadow Sax are on the back row in barrier 10 and 12 respectively. WATCH: Galactic Star's Last Start Win Here Greg Bond said Galactic Star deserved to have another chance in this year’s Inter Dominion series, following his game performance in last year’s series. “We are taking a more seasoned horse,” he said. “We thought he’d done enough last year in the Inters and he ran fifth in a Victoria Cup last year. “He’s probably still learning his trade. “He won a heat of the Inters last year and horses can sometimes take a while to get used to that level of racing.” Bond said he expected the Melton track would suit Galactic Star’s style of racing. “At that grade, he’s probably a little bit of an opportunist,” he said. “He’s a good gaited horse, he gets around Gloucester Park and obviously they are 1000m tracks over there. “If anything, it suits him a bit more because he can wind up and the runs will come with the sprint lanes at Melton.” Cruz Bromac occupies the top line of TABtouch’s Inter Dominion market at $4.20, with the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained pacer to start from barrier four in the third of Saturday night’s heats. Tiger Tara is the star attraction in the opening heat of the night, where he starts from barrier four. The Kevin Pizzuto-trained pacer was brave in running second in the New Zealand Cup on November 13, before an unplaced run in the New Zealand Free-For-All and he’s now a $6 chance for the Inter Dominion. The second round of Inter Dominion heats take place on December 4 at Ballarat, ahead of the final round of heats on December 8 at Cranbourne and the final to take place back at Melton on December 15.   Tim Walker

KEVIN Pizzuto blames himself for Tiger Tara running one of the worst races of his career in the NZ free-for-all. And he wants punters and fans of the mighty pacer to know it won’t happen again. In short, Pizzuto said he gave Tiger Tara to much time in a lush paddock eating grass after his epic second to Thefixer in last Tuesday’s NZ Cup. “He was bloated and you know it feels when you’re bloated,” he said. “I made a mistake. I’m annoyed with myself. It shouldn’t have happened. “I can understand people thinking he might have been tired after the Cup, but it wasn’t that. He actually pulled-up blowing after the race. He’s simply had far too much of that green grass. “Of course you get everything checked after a run like that. I had him scoped, but he was fine. “And he’s been really well since so now I just want to get him home and focus on the Inter Dominion.” Tiger Tara is booked on a flight back to Sydney on Tuesday. It’s great to hear Pizzuto has committed to the Inter Dominion after being far from certainly at stages of last week. “I think this thing of needing to be in Melbourne five days before the heats start is crazy, but I will go down early if I have to,” Pizzuto said. “I’m taking about 15 horses down to Victoria to race them for a few weeks around Inter Dominion time.” Tiger Tara has eased from $4 to $5, but remains favourite for the Inter Dominion final. There has been lots of talk about Tiger Tara also going to Perth for the lucrative Fremantle and WA Cups in January. “At one stage I’d considered missing the Inter Dominion and just going to Perth, but now I’m committed to Victoria, I’ll wait and see how he comes through that before deciding on Perth,” Pizzuto said. “I’d love to go to Perth and probably will if he comes through the Inter Dominion really well.”   Adam Hamilton

Aussie warhorse Tiger Tara could find himself facing the same problem at Addington today that he did three days ago. But if he doesn’t, then he should win the $200,000 New Zealand Free-For-All. The big black stallion wowed fans and even rival trainers with his huge second in the New Zealand Cup after sitting parked before just going down to Thefixer, who used the passing lane to grab him. Tiger Tara has what looks to be the worst possible draw at barrier nine, the outside of the front line, in today’s 1980m mobile pace but has real gate speed and should be across most of his rivals early should driver Todd McCarthy want. But that still leaves him with the same problem as he faced on Tuesday — the likelihood he could be left parked outside a Purdon-Rasmussen horse. The most likely is Cruz Bromac, who will relish the return to the mobile and blasted to the lead to win the Len Smith Mile at Menangle over the winter. If driver Natalie Rasmussen chooses to use that speed he could lead again and then the whole question of the race may be whether she lets Tiger Tara assume the pacemaking role or not. If he leads then it is hard to imagine him beaten unless the passing lane horse, a Cruz Bromac or Jack’s Legend, got him for raw speed. But his $2.70 fixed odds quote does look appealing because if he was drawn better he would be closer to $2 and that may not be the huge factor it looks at first glance.   Michael Guerin

A glorious defeat in last season’s New Zealand Cup gives the Tiger Tara camp confidence they have more than just a Plan A at Addington this afternoon. The Aussie could have started favourite in the great race had he drawn to lead, a position from where he defeated Lazarus twice last season and won the Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup in devastating fashion three starts ago. A rampant Tiger Tara might have been impossible to run down tomorrow but his second line draw, coupled with the quartet of favoured Purdon-Rasmussen rivals drawn well, suggest finding the lead could be tricky, potentially impossible. But neither trainer Kevin Pizzuto nor driver Todd McCarthy think that means Tiger Tara is staring at another brave defeat. “He ran third to Lazarus last year after sitting parked, galloping down the back straight and coming again,” says Pizzuto. “So we know he can sit parked and be hard to beat, which he might have to do. “He is better than last season too so he can win without leading.” McCarthy isn’t getting carried away with tactics, admitting his first job is to navigate the first 400m safely before considering his options. “It is hard to predict standing starts but if he gets away cleanly then I have options. “Sure, leading would be great but if that isn’t up for grabs then I think he has earned the respect to get the chair (parked out) and control the race the last lap.” Tiger Tara is set to be the biggest drifter in the Cup market after opening at $3.80 straight after the draw, with $5 or better a more likely tote price. Michael Guerin

Wow.....where do we start with the 2018 Gr.1 $800,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup? As the second leg of the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit, the Kiwi feature is steeped in tradition after first being staged back in 1904 when Monte Carlo proved victorious while many great names line the pages of history. And another great pacer will etch their name into the record books on the famous second Tuesday in November at Addington. The build-up has been intense and absolutely relentless as we draw closer to the 3200m stand start feature. The early scratchings of Australian star Chicago Bull and local ace Ultimate Machete have only added to the pre-race drama. In fact, the race has seen more moves than a 1980’s disco dance floor! And so many questions need to be answered. All the normal types like who has the Best Stamina? Endurance? Willingness? Desire? And Hunger? But what about answers to the following; Can the All Stars win another Cup? The Mark Purdon/Natalie Rasmussen combination has won 3 of the last 4 editions (Lazarus x 2 & Adore Me) and this year is represented by Thefixer, Cruz Bromac, Eamon Maguire and Dream About Me. Can Dream About Me become the latest mare to claim the Cup? The last mare to score in the Cup came from this stable with Adore Me triumphant four years ago. At this point, Dream About Me is the only mare starting in the Cup although Queen Bee Bardon is listed as the third emergency. Thefixer is facing the starter for only the 16th time, only Mainland Banner has had less starts prior to winning the Cup (it was her 12th start). Can the All Stars prepare the trifecta in the Cup? Back in 2016, they prepared 1st, 3rd & 4th (Lazarus, Titan Banner & Smolda). The biggest number of starters in a New Zealand Cup from All Stars is five (2012). Respected trainer Robert Dunn has the biggest representation in the Cup with five starters; he will gear up Alta Orlando, Captain Dolmio, Letspendanitetogetha, Billy Badger and Zadaka. Can he train his second winner of the event? Dunn scored with wonder mare Mainland Banner back in 2005. Can Ricky May score a record 8th Cup victory when he partners the Greg and Nina Hope trained A G’s White Socks? The next best is Cecil Devine who won 6 Cups. Can Aussie raider Tiger Tara join the likes of Steel Jaw, (My) Lightning Blue and Arden Rooney as an Australian trained winner of the Cup? Prepared by Sydney horseman Kevin Pizzuto, the $1.59 million earner will be handled by regular reinsman Todd McCarthy who is taking his 3rd Cup drive. Now an eight-year-old, Can Tiger Tara join Monkey King (2010) as the most recent winner of the Cup at that age? Tiger Tara is starting in his 4th Cup. Champion reinsman Tony Herlihy is chasing his 4th Cup victory and will partner the highly regarded Auckland trained Star Galleria for trainer Steve Reid. Can Barry Purdon train his 4th Cup winner when Jack’s Legend takes his spot in the Cup? If successful, it will be his 1st outright victory after preparing his trio of winners in partnership with his legendary father Roy. Can Zachary Butcher (Jack’s Legend) join his father David (Changeover – 2008) as a Cup winning driver? Oddly, Changeover (Geoff Small) was the most recent North Island trained winner of the Cup. Can Natalie Rasmussen (Thefixer), Sam Ottley (Forgotten Highway) or Sheree Tomlinson (Locharburn) join Kerryn Manning as a female winning driver of the Cup? Can super sire Bettors Delight claim his 5th Cup after winning the past 4 editions? This year, the record breaking stallion is represented by Thefixer, Dream About Me, Jack’s Legend, Forgotten Highway & Tiger Tara. Can 1998 Cup winner Christian Cullen produce his 2nd winner (Mainland Banner – 2005)? The wonder horse is represented by Locharburn and Baileys Knight (2nd emergency). Interestingly, the horse that has claimed the title of APG Grand Circuit champion for the past two seasons has won the Cup…..the one and only Lazarus! So, all this and more will make sense late on Tuesday afternoon. Because then, at 5.12pm Local time, it will be time for answers.   Chris Barsby

Tiger Tara's incredible run to the New Zealand Trotting Cup hit some serious turbulence yesterday that has seen the Aussie star almost double in price for next week's great race. Tiger Tara has already placed in two New Zealand Cups and an amazing series of events this year seemed to be conspiring to help him finally get to the promised land. The sale of nemesis Lazarus to the US came after budding champion Vincent was retired because of injury then a succession of pacing's big names were sidelined one by one — Lennytheshark, My Field Marshal, Jilliby Kung Fu and then finally and most brutally last week Chicago Bull. That left a rock hard fit Tiger Tara looking every inch the Cup winner, especially after a huge win in the Victoria Cup last month. Until yesterday. Because the NSW iron horse drew the second line for the 3200m Cup at Addington next Tuesday, a draw made significantly worse by the fact the four Purdon-Rasmussen representatives most favoured behind Tiger Tara in the pre-draw market all drew well on the front line. And it got worse for trainer Kevin Pizzuto. Tiger Tara follows out Cruz Bromac at the start, a horse Pizzuto used to train and one of the worst standing starters on the front line. "I didn't want the second line and I definitely didn't want to be following out Cruz Bromac, that is for sure," said Pizzuto. "That is not good at all and it will now be up to Todd (McCarthy, driver) to get some sort of run with him. "I am happy with the horse, I think he is bigger and stronger than last season but we didn't need that." Bookmakers agreed, with even the Australian TAB doubling Tiger Tara's price from $3.50 to $7, with three Purdon-Rasmussen trained runners now more favoured. Dream About Me (barrier five) and Thefixer (barrier one) look set to battle for favouritism, while Cruz Bromac has tightened after securing barrier two, although it may not help him all that much. Tiger Tara wasn't the only one-time favourite for a group one on Tuesday to cop a second line draw, with unbeaten three-year-old Ultimate Sniper to start from two on the second line in the $170,000 Sires' Stakes Final. But while he only has 1980m to make up that disadvantage he still looks better off than Tiger Tara as he follows out a quick beginner and his last start victory suggested he has lengths on most of his opponents. He still may have to sit parked for the last 1000m to win but will be odds-on to do so. Northern trotters Speeding Spur (barrier three) and Lemond (one) were the big winners in the draw for the $100,000 NZ Trotting Free-For-All, which disappointingly is being bypassed by many of the trotting stars as they don't want to be flattened before the $300,000 Dominion three days later. The field for the $800,000 Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup at 5.12pm next Tuesday is: 1: Thefixer 2: Cruz Bromac 3: Eamon Maguire 4: Star Galleria 5: Dream About Me 6: A G's White Socks 7: Billy Badger 8: Jack's Legend 9: Captain Dolmio 10: Forgotten Highway 11: Locharburn 12: James Dream (em1) 13: Tiger Tara 14: Lestspendanitetogetha 15: Queen Bee Bardon (em3) 16: Zadaka 17: Alta Orlando 18: Baileys Knight (em2)   Michael Guerin

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