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New Zealand Cup favourite Tiger Tara won’t have exciting stablemate Majordan as a travelling companion to Christchurch. After talks with US owners Gordon Banks and Marc Hanover, trainer Kevin Pizzuto has opted to leave Majordan at home to focus on mile racing. “We’ve scrapped the NZ idea and he’s out of the Inter Dominion as well,” Pizzuto said. “He’s a dead-set mile horse and that’s what we will focus on towards the Miracle Mile. “Ultimately the plan is to take him across to race in the US next season.” Pizzuto said he thought Tiger Tara was a justified NZ Cup favourite given his history in the race and fantastic form this season. “Don’t forget last year he sat outside Lazarus, galloped and lost a few lengths down the back straight the last time, and still picked himself up and ran third,” he said. “It was a fantastic run last year and I’ve got no doubt he’s a better horse this time around … and, without Lazarus in the race, it’s nowhere near as strong a Cup, either. “I’m sure he’s the one to beat, but he’ll need luck of course. I’d love a good draw and hope he steps away as quickly as he can.” Amazingly, this will be the sixth consecutive year Tiger Tara has raced on NZ Cup Day. It will be his fifth run in the Cup and, back in 2013, he won the Sires’ Stake final for trainer Geoff Dunn on Cup Day. Tiger Tara’s Cup runs have returned sixth placings to Adore Me (2014) and Arden Rooney (2015), a second to Lazarus – albeit beaten 10 lengths – in 2016 and last year’s terrific third to Lazarus. Pizzuto confirmed Tiger Tara would fly to NZ on Monday. “He’s right where I want him now. He didn’t need another race or trial after Cranbourne the other night. He’s spot on for the Cup and it’s the race I’ve set him for,” he said. “He’s amazing horse and I’m sure he’ll run well. I hope people give him credit for what he’s done and I still think the best is yet to come.” ________________________________________________________________________________________ Five of Australia’s top Inter Dominion contenders strut their stuff this weekend. Leading the way is Tim Butt’s emerging star Let It Ride, who is second-up from a break in Saturday night’s $30,000 Group 3 Nick Robin free-for-all (1609m) at Menangle. Let It Ride is the Aussie TAB’s $5 equal favourite with Tiger Tara for the December 15 Inter Dominion final. His rivals this week include one of Team Tritton’s major Inter Dominion players, My Alpha Rock, who is $26 in latest Inter Dom markers. Let It Ride stamped himself as one of the sport’s hottest properties when he blew away a strong field in the Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park at the end of last campaign. He resumed with a late surging fourth to Majordan in a 1min50.4sec mile at Menangle last Sunday. He was privately-timed to run his last half in 52.7sec. This week’s race is slightly easier without Majordan, but driver Anthony Butt has the same dilemma with the extreme outside draw (gate 10) and quality rivals sure to settle in front of him. My Alpha Rock is also drawn wide in gate 10, while other key runners include: Mach Doro (nine), Joes Star A Mia (eight), a rejuvenated Aztec Bromac (three) and fresh Major Crocker (four). Down at Melton on the same night, three of Victoria’s top four Inter Dominion contenders – Shadow Sax, Wrappers Delight and Menin Gate – clash in the $20,000 Sokyola Sprint (1720m). Shadow Sax, who ran a close third to San Carlo and Tiger Tara in the Cranbourne Cup last week, is drawn to lead from gate three and has been crunched from $2.10 to $1.35 with the Aussie TAB. Wrappers Delight ($4) has gate four, while Menin Gate ($12) faces a huge test from the outside gate seven. Inter Dominion has Shadow Sax $7.50 third favourite, Wrappers Delight at $11 and Menin Gate at $18. Adam Hamilton

TIGER Tara’s busy build-up to the New Zealand Cup could see him return to Victoria for next Saturday night’s $50,000 Group 2 Cranbourne Cup. It would mean racing for a fourth consecutive weekend, but trainer Kevin Pizzuto isn’t the least bit fussed about that. Pizzuto declared Cranbourne “very likely” after Tiger Tara backed-up just seven days after his sparkling Victoria Cup win to score again in the Group 3 Kevin Newman Cup (2300m) at Menangle last night. Much like the Victoria Cup, driver Toddy McCarthy turned the race into a sprint home once he led, which last night took 300m to do so from the outside draw. Tiger Tara cruised through a 60.9sec middle half then ran back-to-back 26.9sec splits for a 53.8sec last half to beat the emerging Joes Star Of Mia by 2.7m in a a 1min55.4sec mile rate. It showed again how sharp Tiger Tara seems to be this campaign. “I’ve changed his training and you’re seeing the results with his speed now,” Pizzuto said. Tiger Tara is now $4.50 favourite for the Melbourne Inter Dominion on the Aussie TAB, showing the importance of his presence at the NZ Cup. He is $6 equal second favourite with Dream About Me – behind Ultimate Machete at $5 – for the NZ Cup. “I think we’ll go down to Cranbourne next week with him because it seems I can a flight out of Melbourne that’s direct into Christchurch,” Pizzuto said. “If that’s confirmed, then he’ll run at Cranbourne then head to NZ from Melbourne. “I’d much rather go direct to Christchurch than have to fly to Auckland first. “If he runs at Cranbourne, he probably won’t need another run before the (NZ Cup). “I’ll know all my plans for sure in the next couple of days.” Tiger Tara’s stablemate Majordan, who was a luckless seventh in the Victoria Cup, disappointed slightly when he led, took a trail on Tiger Tara and tired late for fifth in last night’s race. But Majordan is a sprinter and the 2300m didn’t really suit him, especially on the quick back-up from last week. Pizzuto still plans to take him to NZ with Tiger Tara to target the NZ FFA.  Adam Hamilton

TIGER Tara continues his NZ Cup build-up at Menangle on Saturday night. And, in exciting news for Addington officials, trainer Kevin Pizzuto confirmed his other open-class star, Majordan, would accompany Tiger Tara to Christchurch. “Majordan’s target will be the (NZ) free-for-all on the Friday,” Pizzuto said. Majordan will clash with Tiger Tara for the third consecutive week in Saturday night’s 2300m Kevin Newman Cup. Majordan led throughout to beat an eye-catching Tiger Tara (second) over a mile at Menangle two week’s ago. Tiger Tara then led throughout to brilliantly win last week’s Group 1 Victoria Cup at Melton with Majordan having little luck from a back row draw and finishing seventh. This time the 2300m distance suits Tiger Tara (gate 11), but Majordan’s blazing gate speed means he’s almost certain to find the lead despite gate 10. The early money has been for Tiger Tara ($2.80 into $2) on the Aussie TAB with Majordan out from $2.25 to $2.80. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ JUST over three years ago, Menin Gate looked the next big thing in harness racing. In 2015, the then Larry Eastman-trained star had finished a season with wins in the Victoria and Queensland Derbys, Vicbred final and Breeders Crown final. It’s been a rocky road since. Now, after 16 months away from the track, Menin Gate returns in Friday night’s Swan Hill Cup for new trainer-driver Michael Stanley. “He was found to have had a small fracture in his pelvis,” Stanley said. “So far so good on the comeback trail. He seems really sound and I’m happy with how he’s shaping to this point.” Menin Gate looked sharp winning a Maryborough trial by 20m in a 1min57.4sec mile rate for 2190m, sprinting home in 55.8 and 27.6sec. It’s a good test first-up at Swan Hill where last week’s Victoria Cup sixth placegetter Im The Boss is $2.20 favourite from gate nine. Menin Gate is $5 second elect from barrier three. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ JUST before Gary Hall Jr heads to NZ with Chicago Bull as caretaker trainer, he’s popped back home for Friday night’s Gloucester Park meeting. And he had a big decision to make with his drive in the feature race, the $50,000 Group 2 Mount Eden Sprint. Hall Jr had to choose between King Of Swing for his father, Gary Hall Sr, and the exciting Rocknroll Lincoln for trainer Justin Prentice. To the surprise of many, Hall Jr went with the barrier draw an opted for Rocknroll Lincoln from gate two. King Of Swing is right next door in gate three. Hall Jr then heads back to Auckland to prepare Chicago Bull for his race at Alexandra Park on Friday week.   Adam Hamilton

Tiger Tara is tough. He’s fought in most big fights….he’s won some and he’s lost some. But he’s always in for the fight. And he never takes a backward step. With the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit series officially underway, the New South Wales trained eight-year-old showed great tenacity when defying his rivals to score a major victory, leading throughout in the Gr.1 $200,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Victoria Cup at TABCORP Park, Melton tonight (Saturday). The Kevin Pizzuto trained star easily defeated Chicago Bull and Carlas Pixel in a time of 1:53.4 to register his maiden Grand Circuit success. Starting from gate two, driver Todd McCarthy urged the Bettors Delight entire off the gate and defied Mach Doro the early lead which forced a major reshape of tactics of rival drivers. Settling into a comfortable looking stride, Tiger Tara led the way in the 2240m contest while Mach Doro and Franco Nelson were forced to cover extra early ground before eventually gaining a trail on race favourite Chicago Bull who quickly made his move when the pace steadied. The lead time was covered in a moderate 44.2 seconds. Placed in the same event twelve months earlier, Tiger Tara was looking for redemption and rivals allowed McCarthy to dictate terms easily in front with little or no moves being made in the first part of the event. The first half was covered in 30.7 and 28.9 seconds. It spelt disaster for his rivals. Entering the back straight for the final time, McCarthy let Tiger Tara off the chain and rapidly increased the pressure which gave rivals in the second half of the field little or no chance of improving. Tiger Tara was in full-flight while Chicago Bull and Shadow Sax were left working overtime deeper off the track. The back straight quarter was covered in a punishing 26.3 seconds. Approaching the top of the straight, Tiger Tara found separation and raced clear with a widening margin while the race for the place was on in earnest. At the line, Tiger Tara ($7.90) scored by 12.2 metres from Chicago Bull ($1.80) while Carlas Pixel ($77.90) rattled home via inside runs to grab third spot. The final split was covered in 27.7 seconds. The winning mile rate of 1:53.4 is well outside of the track record held by Lennytheshark at 1:52.4 set earlier this year. “He was awesome tonight, he felt the best he’s ever felt for some time and that was an unbelievable feeling. He’s such a courageous animal and thoroughly deserved to win a race of this magnitude.” Winning driver Todd McCarthy said. The gifted young reinsman joins his father John (Be Good Johnny – 2005) and big brother Luke (Mr Feelgood – 2010 & For A Reason – 2013) as a winner of the Victoria Cup. Since joining the stables of Pizzuto, Tiger Tara has won 16 of his 37 starts while his earnings are now in excess of $1.5 million. Tiger Tara is now headed back to New Zealand for another shot at the $800,000 New Zealand Cup at Addington on November 13 before returning to Melbourne in December for the $500,000 Inter Dominion series. Last season, he finished third in both the New Zealand Cup and Inter Dominion. Following his Victoria Cup triumph, Tiger Tara amassed maximum points and is looking to claim the title of Grand Circuit champion this season. He finished third behind Lazarus and Soho Tribeca last term. And it’s another fight he’s ready for, you wouldn’t expect anything less. Chris Barsby

Tiger Tara tore shreds off his rivals to score a remarkable 12.2-metre win in the Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton. The New South Wales-trained eight-year-old clawed his way to the lead early for reinsman Todd McCarthy, defying the challenge of fellow Sydneysider Mach Doro, and powering past polemarker Gotta Go Ya Hu, before ripping home with a 54-second last half. That made it virtually impossible for anything to make ground from out the back following a 44.2secs lead time and 59.6 first half. “Being able to lead on him worked out perfectly,” McCarthy said. “We got that breather early and were ready to roll after that. Full credit tonight to (trainer) Kevin Pizzuto; he had him absolutely at the top of his game.” Chicago Bull lost no admirers, boxing on gamely to run second, covering ground in the breeze and holding off third-placed Carlas Pixel – the mare running a bottler to finish third – and Franco Nelson, who did his share of work early, finishing fourth, just ahead of stablemate My Alpha Rock. Chicago Bull remains the favourite for the TAB ID18. Ameretto, who finished last, was scoped post-race and showed signs of mucous, according to trainer-driver Kerryn Manning, which may explain the performance. Tiger Tara will now head to New Zealand for a tilt at the $800,000 New Zealand Trotting Cup, one of the international jewels of the sport, before returning to Victoria for the TAB Inter Dominion from December 1. Ranked No.3 in the Inters earlier this month, there would be every chance Tiger Tara could launch to the top of the charts when rankings are updated this week. “We’ll definitely be back for the Inter Dominion,” an elated Pizzuto said. “He’s such a great horse with a big heart.”   CODY WINNELL MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING VICTORIA 

Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr has no hesitation in declaring Im Themightyquinn as the best horse he has prepared. The retired champion won 58 races, including three Inter Dominion Championships and earned $4,567,456 in prizemoney. But Hall was unable to win the prestigious Victoria Cup with three attempts with Im Themightyquinn. “He didn’t have any luck in his three Victoria Cup runs and now I’m hoping it will be fourth-time lucky with Chicago Bull in the Cup on Saturday night,” Hall said. Chicago Bull has won at 39 of his 59 starts and is in peak form after effortless wins at his past nine starts. He is handily drawn at the No. 3 barrier on the front line in this week’s $200,000 Victoria Cup over 2240m. He possesses excellent gate speed, but it is problematic that he will be able to cross the speedy Tiger Tara, who begins from the No. 2 barrier. Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr said “There’s a bit of speed on the inside and the outside and I’ll have a few decisions to make early. But he’s good enough to win.” Tiger Tara, trained by Kevin Pizzuto and to be handled by Todd McCarthy, appeals as the toughest for Chicago Bull to beat. Tiger Tara and Chicago Bull last clashed when they met in the final of the Inter Dominion Championship over 2936m at Gloucester Park last December. Tiger Tara led from the No. 1 barrier and was still in front on the home turn.  He fought on grandly to finish third behind Lazarus and Chicago Bull. Before that, he raced in the breeze when second to Chicago Bull in a 2536m qualifying heat, led and won a 2100m heat from Lazarus (at Bunbury) and had a tough run in the breeze when second to Lennytheshark over 2130m. Im Themightyquinn contested the Victoria Cup at Melton in 2010, 2011 and 2012. He was favourite at $3.50 in 2010 when he was in 11th place in the one-wide line, under lock and key with 500m to travel before getting clear approaching the home turn and thundering home, six wide, to finish third to Mr Feelgood. In 2011, Im Themightyquinn was the $4.20 second favourite from the No. 2 barrier. He raced in sixth position in the one-out, two-back position and was held up for most of the final circuit before finishing last behind Smoken Up. Then a year later he was the $1.60 favourite from barrier three. He led for the first 500m and then trailed the pacemaker Terrorway before getting clear 300m from home and after going three wide on the home turn and hitting the front 130m from the post he wilted slightly and finished third behind Caribbean Blaster. Ken Casellas

CHICAGO Bull just continues doing everything right heading towards the New Zealand Cup. The pint-sized superstar stretched his unbeaten run this season to seven wins with another easy and dominant display at Gloucester Park last Friday night. The horse they call “mini Quinny” in WA, has won 11 of his past 12 starts and was only beaten a whisker in the other. There is no doubt he’s the best pacer in this part of the world right now. And he’s only got one more run at home at Gloucester Park before heading to Melbourne for the Victoria Cup across the Tasman for the NZ Cup. “He runs again here on Friday week, then it’s across to Melbourne where we will stay with Daniel Jack for the Victoria Cup,’ Hall Sr said. After the October 13 Victoria Cup, Chicago Bull heads to NZ via Auckland for an Alexandra Park standing start on October 26. Hall Sr said he planned to run Chicago Bull in both the NZ Cup and the NZ Free-For-All on the Friday. “If he misses anything it will be the Inter Dominioon because is the money is not huge and he’s got the two big races at home in January,” Hall Sr said. “I’d love to run in the Inter Dom because the race means so much, but the prizemoney isn’t great and if something has to give, that’ll be it.” ____________________________________________________________________________________ TIGER Tara will need to do something and quickly to return to the NZ Cup after his fantastic placing last year. Kevin Pizzuto’s stable star has been winless in three runs this campaign and looked a shadow of himself in the free-for-all at Menangle last night. He drew wide, settled last in a hotly run race and made no impact before finishing 5.5m from the winner in seventh spot. The race was run by Steve Turnbull’s emerging talent Joes Star Of Mia, who gunned-down the in-form My Alpha Rock for an upset in a 1min50.3sec mile. My Alpha Rock worked hard to find the front from a wide draw in a 26.9sec opening quarter and kept finding for Lauren Tritton, but Joes Star Of Mia nabbed victory by a nose in the last stride. ____________________________________________________________________________________ NEW Zealand Cup plans for Queensland’s best pacer, Alleluia, will be a lot clearer by the end of this week. Owner Greg Mitchell has set Wednesday as D-Day. “It’s been a lifetime dream to have a runner in the NZ Cup. I’m really looking to experiencing the whole event,” he said. Alleluia won four on end at Albion Park before storming home from a bad draw and hopeless position for fourth in the free-for-all last night. It’s certainly the right year to chase the NZ Cup with some big names either having gone amiss or been sold to the US. WA’s Chicago Bull is the horse to beat and much interest will surround Ultimate Machete when he returns to racing next month for the All Stars barn. ____________________________________________________________________________________ IF you get the chance, take a look at Gods Spirit in the third race at Menangle on Tuesday. The former Kiwi, who won his only NZ start before being sold to Team Tritton, has looked fantastic winning all three runs for the new barn so far. Shane Tritton has declared him a serious Chariots of Fire horse. Gods Spirit’s three wins have been by an aggregate 53.9 metres and he’s paced miles in 1min51.0sec, 1min51.7sec and 1min50.9sec. “He’s something else. Now it’s about teaching to become a complete racehorse before he goes into the big races. The ability is there,” Tritton said. “The trick with our handicapping system now is that’s only four wins away from being in fast-class at Menangle. If he keeps winning he’ll get there after just eight runs. “That makes it tricky to teach him along the way.” ____________________________________________________________________________________ HE might be an 11-year-old now, but Kyvalley Blur may never have raced better. The US-bred member of Brent Lilley’s barn made a one-act affair of the Group 3 True Roman free-for-all at Melton in a 1min58.1sec mile rate for 2240m last night. It was his fourth win from his past five starts and the only defeat was a top second to the now sadly sidelined star Sparkling Success. Last night’s win capped a milestone for Kyvalley Road, who stormed past the $500,000 barrier. Lilley “owned” the race with the first four runners home. El Paco, Any Old Way and Conon Bridge were next across the line in order. Despite his years, Kyvalley Blur looks every bit a major player in the upcoming resurrection of the Inter Dominion trotting series in Victoria. ____________________________________________________________________________________ INTERESTING move in Tasmania with the state’s marquee race, the Tasmania Cup, switching back from a mobile to standing-start handicap on March 16, 2019. Horses will need to contest qualifying heats the week before to qualify. “There will be a 40m maximum backmark,” added Harness Racing Tasmanian spokesman Duncan Dornauf. ____________________________________________________________________________________ IT is amazing to think Love Ina Chevy was on death’s door for the best part of a week from a snake bite to his mouth less than three years ago. Trainer Lance Justice held 24-hour vigils, day after day, as his prospects of surviving continued to fluctuate. Eventually he turned the corner. Now he’s winning the fast-class races at Melton. Love Ina Chevy underlined his career-best form when he posted his third Melton win from his past five starts in the fifth event last night. And he did so after sitting behind the leader and main danger, Audi Hare, and still having enough “ping” to gun him down in a closing 26.8sec quarter at the end of a 1min54.0sec mile rate for 1720m. Unthinkably, Justice has every reason to aim for the Melbourne Inter Dominion series given Love Ina Chevy’s improvement, gate speed and versatility.   Adam Hamilton

GRAND Circuit pacer Tiger Tara will not race in Saturday night’s Group 3 Free-For-All at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The $1.3million earner was involved in a car and float accident on Tuesday morning and has been ruled out of the feature. Tiger Tara was lucky to escape any serious injury, however, Harness Racing New South Wales Chairman of Stewards Grant Adams said the stallion will be stood down from racing for seven days. “The veterinary report following the accident revealed that the horses involved had sustained some bruising around their heads and as a precaution, were recommended to be stood down from racing for a period of seven days and until a further veterinarian clearance is submitted,” said Adams. Tiger Tara was with three other stablemates in Jakes Sportswriter, Courageous Becqui and Pass The Speights, when the float they were traveling in was hit by an oncoming car and pushed into a tree. Trainer Kevin Pizzuto was driving the car while stablehand Karen Crouch was also in the vehicle. Pizzuto escaped with some bruising and Crouch is nursing three broken ribs. “I hit my head on the windscreen and am sore and bruised but okay,” said Pizzuto. “Karen has broken ribs and a nasty cut to her head. “When we got out of the truck and I realised no people had died my concern went straight to the horses. “Thankfully they are all fine.” On track, Pizzuto is experiencing one of his best seasons to date having trained 96 winners for the term. Last season was Pizzuto’s best result training 115 winners, however, his starters this season have earned more prizemoney than what they earned last term. This is largely due to Pizzuto’s success with the likes of Tiger Tara, Cruz Bromac and Majordan. Pizzuto’s main stable driver Todd McCarthy has also relished off this success. McCarthy has already taken out the NSW Metropolitan Drivers’ Premiership for the 2017/18 season and is on track to also take out the State Drivers’ Premiership. “I’d have to say my two highlights this season was getting that fast time with Maori Time at Menangle and that fast win I had on Tiger Tara in the Canadian Club Sprint where he beat Lazarus,” said McCarthy. Despite spending time in Europe this season when driving Maori Time in the Elitloppet in Sweden, McCarthy has driven 166 winners this season with just Thursday night’s Penrith meeting and Friday night’s Bankstown meeting the last two NSW meetings for this term.   Amanda Rando AMANDA RANDO | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HRNSW

THE world awaits top Aussie trotter Sparkling Success. And the Victorian regained feature race winning form just ahead of his trip to the US for the $1 million Yonkers Interational Trot in October. It’s one of the great stories given he’s trained by dairy farmers John and Mary Meade, who have sold the farm to concentrate on campaigning Sparkling Success in the US. After two sound runs back from a spell, regular driver Chris Svanosio obviously felt Sparkling Success was primed to do some work and launched him a daring and race-winning midrace move around the field to take the lead. It left main danger and hot favourite Maori Time parked doing the work in the $35,000 Group Breeders Crown Graduate Trotters’ free-for-all. Sparkling Success was always in control, winning by 3.7m in a slick 1min58sec mile rate for 2240m “This is the race he won last year which showed how good he was and Meady thought he was getting back to his top so I was happy to do a bit of work on him. He felt terrific,” Svanosio said. Meade said Sparkling Success could race again at Melton on September 8 before boarding a flight to the US seven days later. The adorable Meade told www.thetrots.com.au : “There’s a lot of thing I don’t know yet, there’s probably a lot of things when I come home I won’t know either, but anyway. “We are going. I still haven’t got my visa. I haven’t got a credit card and I haven’t got a mobile phone. I have got a passport. “I’ve only got to just get on my computer – computers and me aren’t real good – I’ve been busy trying to get my licence and organise my cows for sale.” ____________________________________________________________________________ YOU may never see another race quite like what Dance Craze did in the Group 2 Breeders Crown 4YO Mares’ final at Melton last Friday night. It wasn’t the way she won, but rather how as a $1.10 favourite she did two staggering things to beat herself. About 100m from the winning post with a lap to go, she shied at something, broke badly while leading,  caused chaos in the field, but recovered well enough to zoom around take the lead again down the back straight. Driver Nathan Jack cut her loose on the final bend and she got to the 100m mark in the home straight with a huge lead before … doing exactly what she did a lap earlier. This time she galloped, lost all chance and finished ninth. For the record, the race was won by Margaret Jean for trainer Chris Svanosio and driver Mark Pitt. ____________________________________________________________________________ GLAMOUR mare Our Golden Goddess’ unbeaten streak this campaign came to an end when she could only manage third in the $60,000 Group 2 Breeders Crown Graduate Open free-for-all (2240m) at Melton last Friday night. The scratching of favourite and big threat Shadow Sax left Our Golden Goddess a dominant $1.70 favourite, but much-improved leader Audi Hare dictated in front and found plenty to win by a head over Nikkibandwagon (behind leader). Our Golden Goddess was another head away third and timed to run her last 800m out three-wide without cover in 54.9sec. Such has been Audi Hare’s improvement, trainer David Aiken touted a possible Melbourne Inter Dominion tilt for the rising six-year-old. ____________________________________________________________________________ CHICAGO Bull stole the show at Gloucester Park last Friday, but a couple of Greg and Skye Bond’s exciting four-year-olds delivered nice cameos. Former buzz juvenile Mitch Maguire and the emerging former Kiwi Vampiro both look headed to bigger and better things. Mitch Maguire sat parked, but simply blew away a handy field for a speed with a 55.4 closing half to score in a 1min56.4sec mile rate for 2130m. It was his fourth win from his past five starts and his 17th from just 26 career runs. Vampiro, who looks every bit a serious open-class player in the making, didn’t win as easily but was even more impressive. After rapidly rising through the grades, Vampiro had been good without winning of late, but turned it around when he dropped back in grade slightly and to a standing race off 20m. Ryan Warwick stepped him away well, made an early move to sit parked and then went crunch through the middle stages with a 56.1sec split from the 1200-400m. Vampiro tired late, but held on to beat stablemate Courage Tells by 1.4m in a sharp 1min57.7sec mile rate for the long 2503m standing-start. The Bonds snared a treble on the night with Mighty Mr Sharkey led throughout to upset stablemate El Jacko in the fourth event. ____________________________________________________________________________ A WIDE draw and tough run saw NZ Cup hopeful Tiger Tara finish just midfield in the Group 3 Vic Frost Cup (1609m) at Menangle last night. Kevin Pizzuto’s stable star was only second-up from a spell and worked hard three-wide then outside the leader and winner My Alpha Rock before tiring late for a 7.1m fifth. My Alpha Rock continues to emerge as a open-class player and there was plenty to like about his bold front-running win in a 1min50.9sec mile. The flop of the race was former All Stars’ pacer Cash N Flow, now in the Craig Cross barn, who had a good trip, but failed to beat a rival home. ____________________________________________________________________________ A LATE surge from Lauren Tritton left her one with short of winning the Menangle drivers’ premiership. Todd McCarthy’s early treble last night gave him a three-win lead, but Tritton hit back with victories on My Alpha Rock and Petes Big Jim. Petes Big Jim, a placegetter and Jewels and Vicbred finals, had to pull-out all stops to beat Tim Butt’s recent Kiwi import Izzy Dagg in the Garrards Ready 2 Run Sale Stakes in a slick 1min52.9sec mile.   Adam Hamitlon

CHICAGO Bull is Gary Hall Sr’s stable top seed, but rejuvenated veteran My Hard Copy isn’t far behind him. And, if came down to emotional connections, My Hard Copy might even be on top. The rising nine-year-old entire returned from a spell to beat a good field easily and post his 27th career win at Gloucester Park last Friday night. My Hard Copy boasts more than $1.25 million in stakemoney, largely through his two Fremantle Cup wins (2015 and this year),  two WA Cup wins (2015 and 2016) and even a third in a Hunter Cup. “We love him. I hoped hew drew well first-up because his work at home had been so good. He’s come back better than even we think,” Hall Sr said. My Hard Copy drew the pole, Gary Hall Jr used his early speed to lead easily and then kept-up a strong tempo to win without being extended by 3.9m over a gallant Galactic Star, who sat parked, with The Bucket List (behind leader) in third spot. The mile rate was a strong 1min56.7sec, which considering the winter conditions, compared well with the track record 1min54.5sec set by Lazarus on night one of last year’s Perth Inter Dominion. Interestingly, My Hard Copy has beaten home Chicago Bull at two of their past three clashes. While Chicago Bull, who will likely race at Gloucester Park net Friday, will travel to the Victoria Cup in Melbourne then onto the NZ Cup, My Hard Copy is staying home. “I’ll just take him through the free-for-alls here and get ready for another go at the Fremantle and WA Cups,” Hall Sr said. ________________________________________________________________________________________ SHADOW Sax has served his “apprenticeship” and now its time for the big league. Emma Stewart’s exciting open-class player looms as one of the key contenders for races like the Victoria Cup and Melbourne Inter Dominion. Stewart took Shadow Sax through a string of country cup wins this season, but dipped him into the elite company for a second to Soho Tribeca in the Kilmore Cup, a win over the same horse in the Melton Plate and a third in the Ballarat Cup. He’s won 11 of 14 starts this season with the only flop, a mystifying one, being a 12th in the Hunter Cup. Shadow Sax brilliantly won the Horsham Cup on April 22 then had a break before resuming with a no-fuss win in the Minuteman free-for-all at Melton last Friday night. Chris Alford used gate three to lead, cruised through a cosy 47.1sec lead time, steady 61.8sec middle half, the zipped home in 55.8 and 26.9sec to score by 3.5m in a 1min58.3sec mile rate for 2240m. Shadow Sax will back-up in next week’s Breeders Crown Open free-for-all then build towards the Victoria Cup on October 15. ________________________________________________________________________________________ GLAMOUR mare Our Golden Goddess earned a crack at Shadow Sax in the Breeders Crown Open free-for-all after winning the mares’ only version last night. It was closer than punters hoped and expected, but Our Golden Goddess led, smashed the clock and just held-out reigning Ladyship Mile winner Carlas Pixel by a neck. They went a slick 1min53.1sec mile rate for 1650m. ________________________________________________________________________________________ TEAM Tritton bring so many horses across from NZ, it takes something special to standout. A few years back Shane Tritton spruiked a mare called Arms Of An Angel before she had her first run for him and we all know hood good she was before being cutdown by injury at her prime. Tritton beamed similar confidence about a three-year-old Tintin In America gelding called Gods Spirit a before he stepped-out for his first run for the stable at Menangle last Tuesday. Gods Spirit won his only start in NZ for trainer-driver Nicky Chilcott by just a neck at a Manawatu meeting back on December 14, last year. “He went a 1min51sec mile at the (Menangle) trials and it was the first time he’d seen the mobile in seven months,” Tritton said. “He could be a freak.” Gods Spirit ran right up to expectations and his trial when he won his first Aussie run by an increasing 26.3m at Menangle last Tuesday. Despite a cosy 57.6sec first half, the gelding ripped home in staggering splits of 53.4 and 26.5sec for a 1min51sec mile, seemingly with Lauren Tritton just nursing him. No three-year-old has gone faster in Australia this season. ________________________________________________________________________________________ VETERAN mare Lola Jones is becoming quite the giant-killer. Kevin Pizzuto’s rising eight-year-old stormed home to upstage her more highly-fancied rivals in the Group 3 Baby Bling at Menangle last night. The leaders went hard through a 55.3sec first half which set-up the overall 1min51.7sec mile. The hardluck story of the race was classy former WA mare Major Reality, who had no racing room when it mattered at her first run for new trainer Craig Cross.   Adam Hamilton

The Inter Dominion dream is still alive for injury-plagued superstar Hectorjayjay. It’s been well documented his latest injury setback prompted another stable switch to Matty Craven near Warrnambool, so beach swimming could become part of his routine. And that’s just what Hectorjayjay has started doing, making regular visits to into the chilly Lady Bay beach in Warrnambool. “Not only is he swimming and doing really well, but he starts jogging this week,” part-owner Mick Harvey said. “We’ve mapped out a plan for him and the Inter Dominion is part of it. If everything keeps going the way it is, he’ll he on target for the Inters. “Matty is thrilled with how he’s been since he got to his place a few weeks ago.” Hectorjayjay brilliantly won the Group 1 Blacks A Fake last July and returned from almost a year out to win at Kilmore for Gavin Lang in late June, but developed another minor issue. __________________________________________________________________________ NZ Cup hopeful Tiger Tara was beaten, but far from disgraced at his comeback run at Menangle last night. Kevin Pizzuto’s star did plenty of early work to eventually find the lead, kicked away with a big break at the top of the home straight, but was nabbed late by the much-improved sit-sprinter Loorim Creek. They ran a strong 1min51.5sec mile and Tiger Tara was beaten just 1.9m. It was his first run since the Miracle Mile on February 24. The shock of the race was the flop of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen’s heavily backed favourite Cash N Flow ($2.90 into $1.90), who beat just one rival home. Cash N Flow, an eye-catching when runner-up at his first Menangle run, worked forward early, sat parked, loomed as a winning hope coming to the final bend, but wilted to be beaten 15m in ninth spot. __________________________________________________________________________ LUCKY hobby trainer Ange McDowall is a patient person. McDowall’s star Lumineer – one of Australia’s most exciting pacers – is out of the Breeders Crown with another injury setback, but it’s only minor. “It’s not a broken bone, it’s just an untimely hiccup. It’s an abscess which didn’t burst in time,” she said. Lumineer, who boasts eight wins from nine starts, hasn’t raced since being injured during the Victoria Derby final on January 27. He was scratched from his Breeders Crown qualifier at Bendigo last Friday night. __________________________________________________________________________ STILL on the Breeders Crown qualifiers and, as expected, they proved a feast for co-trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin across four meetings in Victoria last week. Stewart and Tonkin amazingly won all of the nine heats run at Ballarat, Kilmore, Shepparton and Bendigo. At Kilmore last Tuesday, Two Times Bettor turned the tables on Kualoa from the Vicbred final in the first heat, then Somebeachsomewhere filly Swimsuit Edition won the second heat. Stewart and Tonkin landed the trifecta in the second of the Ballarat heats last Wednesday with Hurricane Harley storming home over the top of the leader, Hardhitter, with the emerging Brevity in third spot. In the other heat, Australian Gold and Vicbred winner Centenario led throughout to score. Last Thursday, Stewart and Tonkin easily won both three-year-old pacing fillies’ heats with Pistol Abbey (who beat stablemate Tenniele Erin in the first heat) and final favourite Speak No Evil. With Shez All Rock sidelined, Vicbred winner Speak No Evil looks a standout for the final. Stewart and Tonkin then unleashed seven runners across the three heats for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings at Ballarat on Friday night winning with NSW Derby winner Poster Boy, the untapped Ride High and underrated Major Times, who upstaged more highly-fancied stablemate Maraetai. __________________________________________________________________________ THE old marvel did it again. Kyvalley Blur, the rising 11-year-old who was bred in North America, toyed with his younger rivals in the Group 3 Aldebaran Park Trotters’ free-for-all at Melton last night. It was his second win at the top level in six days after a dominant display in the free-for-all at Maryborough on Redwood Day. Chris Alford was content to sit back and wait for the last shot at Sparkling Success, who gave him the trail home, and comeback champ Keystone Del, who sat parked. Kyvalley Blur exploded past his classy rivals halfway down the straight and cruised to a 5.7m win in a slick 1min58sec mile rate for 2240m. Keystone Del battled on well for second, the spot he occupied at his first run back from a year out. Sparkling Success, who is US bound for the Yonkers International Trot in October, ran on quite well, but has yet to show his peak form in two runs back from a spell. __________________________________________________________________________ STABLE star Chicago Bull stayed home, but trainer Gary Hall Sr still won the major fast-class race at Gloucester Park last Friday night with the promising Kiwi-bred Runrunjimmydunn. The son of American Ideal, superbly driven by Gary Hall Jr, outstayed classy rivals Motu Premier and Vampiro and the end of the Marathon over an epic 3309m. The other fast-class race produced an upset when Greg and Skye Bond’s four-year-old Rock Diamonds upstaged classy open-class performers The Bucket List and Bettors Fire in a slick 1min54.7sec mile rate for 2130m.   Adam Hamilton

Sydney trainer Kevin Pizzuto has confirmed a Brisbane winter carnival campaign. But it comes with a twist. While Racing Queensland officials were confident of seeing last start Gr.1 Len Smith Mile winner Cruz Bromac heading north for the open class riches on offer, nobody was expecting his companion. Stable star Tiger Tara is also expected to make the trip and contest the main event, the Gr.1 $200,540 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship on July 21 at Albion Park. Tiger Tara has not raced since finishing fourth behind My Field Marshal in the Miracle Mile at TABCORP Park, Menangle in 1:46.9 back on February 24. The $1.3 million earner is a major inclusion for the final leg of the 2017/18 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit which sets up as a must win race for Soho Tribeca. If successful, Soho Tribeca can snatch a one point victory from champion pacer and now North American based Lazarus. Tiger Tara sits third on the leaderboard and even if he is triumphant, he can’t secure the title of Grand Circuit champion. “He’s been back in work for a number of weeks and he’s returned in such great order and come to hand very quickly so we’re going to give it a go. I’ll have both Tiger and Cruz Bromac starting in the Blacks A Fake.” Pizzuto said. Tiger Tara was the beaten favourite in the 2017 version after being run down by Hectorjayjay and My Field Marshal in the 2680m feature. Defending champion Hectorjayjay won’t be returning despite making a successful return at Kilmore last weekend in the Popular Alm Sprint. Now prepared by master horseman Gavin Lang, it was his first start since winning the Blacks A Fake.   Chris Barsby

Tim Butt is very serious about his Queensland Winter Carnival raid. So serious in fact, he’s already arrived in Brisbane with stable stars My Field Marshal and Let It Ride. And it seems a lack of suitable racing options will mean the pair will lock horns in the Group 2 Sunshine Sprint on Saturday week at Albion Park. “I arrived today (Wednesday) with My Field Marshal and Let It Ride,” Butt said. “Let It Ride’s target is a 4YO race on July 21, but I want him to run on the 14th as well. Looking through the options, it seems it will have to be in the Sunshine Sprint.” Let It Ride scored his most significant and dominant win when, suited by the frantic pace set by the leaders, he blew away the field in the Group 1 Breeders Challenge final at Menangle last Sunday. For more than a year Butt has touting Let It Ride as his next stable star. My Field Marshal will challenge for favouritism in the Sunshine Sprint after his second to Cruz Bromac in the Group 1 Len Smith Mile last Sunday. Cruz Bromac’s trainer Kevin Pizzuto said the pacer would bypass the Sunshine Sprint and head north for just the Blacks A Fake. The other major player will be Soho Tribeca, who took no part in the Len Smith after contacting the starting gate, galloping and losing all chance. Queensland officials are still clinging to the hope comeback star Hectorjayjay will defend his Blacks A Fake title, but it seems highly unlikely. Hectorjayjay returned from almost a year out with a Kilmore win last Saturday and should win again at Melton this Saturday night, Adam Hamilton

THIS Queensland Winter Carnival just got a whole lot more interesting. And the biggest and most exciting twist could be yet to come. Cruz Bromac’s upset Group 1 Len Smith win at Menangle yesterday threw his name into the Queensland mix, but did little to answer the question as to who Australia’s best pacer is right now. That’s largely because top seed and $1.40 Len Smith favourite Soho Tribeca broke at the start and effectively took no part in the race. It appeared Soho Tribeca, who was dipping his head in the score-up, got his head under the arm of the mobile briefly and caused himself to gallop. He was subsequent found to have pulled-up with a minor issue and stood down for seven days and pending a vet test. Many argued the mobile gate was going too slow for a major race and potentially contributed to Soho Tribeca’s issue. Whatever the exact reasons, punters copped it big time and Soho Tribeca took no part. Miracle Mile winner My Field Marshal began well from the pole, but was no match for the early brilliance of a new-look Cruz Bromac – having just his second run for Kevin Pizzuto – and grabbed the trail on the leader throughout. My Field Marshal saw plenty of room at the right time in the home straight, but was unable to make any real impact on Cruz Bromac, who zipped home in 26.5sec at the end of a 1min50.1sec mile and won by 4.6m. “The win certainly didn’t surprise me,” Pizzuto said. “I tipped him on (Sydney) radio and told everyone we’d backed him fixed odds. “I got really keen on his chances after we worked him around the half mile track at Bankstown early in the week and he flew. I knew he was ready and I told Danny (Zavitsanos) he was spot-on.” Pizzuto and Zavitsanos run deep and sharing a Group 1 win was special. “I was gutted when Danny sold Majordan and he came out and went so well for me. I thought he might have a sold a Group 1 winner and still think he might have,” Pizzuto said. “So it was great when the chance to buy Cruz Bromac came along and Danny took 75 per cent of him with me to train, I thought ‘ok, let’s get this guy to win a Group 1 for us both’.” It was only a few weeks back at Cambridge when Zavitsanos and his wife, Joanne, won their first Group 1 race with the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained Enhance Your Calm. Pizzuto said the next 24-48 hours would decide whether Cruz Bromac headed to Queensland for Saturday week’s Group 2 Sunshine Sprint and/or the Group 1 Blacks A Fake a week later. “He’s not the soundest horse, that’s well known, so we just need to see how he comes through this win,” Pizzuto said. Majordan, who parked outside the leader and weakened late for seventh, is headed for a spell. While Pizzuto’s other open-class star Tiger Tara is about to start fast work with a view to a racetrack return in late August. But back to Queensland and while Cruz Bromac’s plans will be known very soon, fans will have to wait until next week for the verdict with defending Blacks A Fake champion Hectorjayjay. Despite his sparkling comeback win at Kilmore last Friday, where he paced a 54.8sec last half outside the leader, new trainer-driver Gavin Lang still only seems lukewarm on heading north. “He’s racing again next weekend and Gavin will make his final decision then,” part-owner Mick Harvey said. Adam Hamilton

EVEN rival reinsmen could not believe their eyes. The short-priced favourite for today’s TAB.com.au Len Smith Mile was gone as soon as the starter let them go. Soho Tribeca went into a full stretch gallop just as the mobile arm let them go and suddenly this whole Group One feature completely changed complexion. My Field Marshall found the front but his reinsman Anthony Butt had no hesitation handing up the front to Cruz Bromac (Chris Geary) in that frantic run to the first turn. After that the young man who is regarded as one of the finest young horsemen in the land, Geary was able to dictate terms to suit himself and Cruz Bromac did the rest. His trainer Kevin Pizzuto later relayed how confident he was going into the Len Smith Mile: “He worked so well when I fast-worked him yesterday morning I actually told the owner he was a moral,” grinned Pizzuto. “As a matter of fact we were so confident we probably won more on the punt then the race was worth so it’s been a pretty good result all around.” Owner Denis Zavitsanos also paid tribute to Pizzuto: “He’s only had the horse for less than a month and he’s already taken him to the next level,” said the part-owner. photo by Ashlea Brennan Photography Geary was also stoked after scoring the biggest win of his fledgling career: “The owners could have more an older more experienced driver on him but they stuck by me and I have to give them a big thank you for trusting me with such an important drive,” he said. “Kevin said the horse was going really well and he’d have him ready to win and he’s rarely wrong.” After coming out of the gate in 26.4s, Geary was able to back the speed off with a fairly leisurely middle half of 57.2s (splits of 28.9 and 28.3) which meant the son of Falcon Seelster was able to dash home in 26.4s for a 1:50.1 mile. Cruz Bromac finished up scoring a four and a half metre win over My Field Marshall, who tried hard but couldn’t run him down after getting clear late in the straight, while Mach Doro was a strong third, just ahead of Gotta Go Ya Hu. And another feature race was headed home to one of Australia’s most successful stables – the Kevin Pizzuto barn. As for Soho Tribeca? He trailed home a long last.   Mandy Madern     6 3:26pm TAB.COM.AU LEN SMITH MILE (GROUP 1) 1609M $100,000 RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 CRUZ BROMAC NZ      Fr6 7 Kevin Pizzuto Chris Geary   $ 25.90   GS L QUER SWAB   BAY GELDING 6 by FALCON SEELSTER USA out of CROWN DEFENDER (NZ) (LIFE SIGN USA)  Owner(s): D Zavitsanos, P M O'Shea, Z D O'Shea, J Zavitsanos, W R Viney  Breeder(s): Bromac Lodge Ltd 2 MY FIELD MARSHAL NZ      Fr1 1 Tim Butt Anthony Butt 4.60 $ 5.40   PRBT SWAB 3 MACH DORO      Fr3 3 Craig Cross Luke McCarthy 7.60 $ 23.80   PRBT HUE SWAB 4 GOTTA GO YA HU NZ      Fr5 6 S P Tritton, L R Tritton Lachie Manzelmann 7.90 $ 79.60   PRBT D/F$400 UW 5 CELESTIAL ARDEN NZ      Fr4 5 KerryAnn Turner Robert Morris 8.90 $ 28.80   RAS 6 TACT TATE NZ      Fr7 8 Amanda Turnbull Amanda Turnbull 9.60 $ 33.80   RAS 7 MAJORDAN      Fr9 10 Kevin Pizzuto Todd McCarthy 11.70 $ 12.30   PRBT 3WE WF QUERP VXAR NAR 8 FRANCO NELSON NZ      Fr10 11 S P Tritton, L R Tritton Lauren Tritton 12.50 $ 18.40   RAS 9 MATCH IN HEAVEN      Fr8 9 Paul Fitzpatrick Blake Fitzpatrick 14.70 $ 48.70   PRBT 10 SOHO TRIBECA      Fr2 2 Michael Stanley Michael Stanley 375.90 $ 1.40 fav  PRBT HOSU GO WI VXAR CR SD7D SDVC Scratchings   CHARLAVAL 4 ULTIMATE ART 12 Track Rating: GOOD   Gross Time: 1:50:1 Mile Rate: 1:50:1 First Quarter: 26.4 Second Quarter: 28.9 Third Quarter: 28.3 Fourth Quarter: 26.5 Margins: 4.6m x 3.0m  

THE record-breaking Miracle Mile winner My Field Marshal may not even start favourite in a ho-hum Menangle free-for-all on Saturday night. That’s because he is locking horns with NSW’s buzz pacer of the moment, Majordan, and the new kid on the block has a better draw and looks the leader. Majordan, who has gate 10 compared to My Field Marshal’s barrier 11, could not have been more impressive winning his past three starts for new trainer Kevin Pizzuto. The five-year-old followed 1min48.9sec and 1min49.4sec mile wins at Menangle with a demolition job in last Saturday night’s Newcastle Mile. Majordan won by 20m in a scorching 1min51.4sec mile, which took 0.8sec off Avonnova’s race and track record from two years earlier. “And think about the fact he ran that time on a cold night compared to the Newcastle Mile usually being run in summer as a lead-up to the Miracle Mile,” driver Luke McCarthy said. “I can assure you he had plenty left. He could’ve gone quicker, much quicker if I’d asked him.” With McCarthy committed to his own horse Mach Doro (gate nine) this week and his brother, Andy, still away in Europe, Pizzuto has opted for Mat Rue to drive Majordan on Saturday night. Rue, 28, is best known for driving the then Belinda and Luke McCarthy-trained Baby Bling to win the 2013 Miracle Mile. Anthony Butt takes the reins on My Field Marshal, who is sure to be fitter and sharper for a workmanlike first-up Menangle win against a moderate bunch last Saturday night in a relatively cosy 1min52.4sec mile. My Field Marshal has the class and form at the top level, but Majordan has stirred huge excitement and Pizzuto has declared him serious Miracle Mile material. Throw in a handy support crew with the in-form Mach Doro and Match In Heaven and this should be a fascinating pointer to the $100,000 Group 1 Len Smith Mile at Menangle on June 24. Adam Hamitlon

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