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Tango Tara replaces Le Lievre’s Gift for Curtin and Nieper

NZ HARNESS NEWS

The pickings have been rather lean for Jimmy Curtin this season but he’s hoping a new acquisition will go some way to turning that around.

Up until recently the top horseman had trained just one winner this term and that was Le Lievre’s Gift at Addington back in September.

And that good trotting mare had to be retired in December with a hind suspensory injury after going all the way to Auckland and having to head home again without racing.

The daughter of Jasmyn’s Gift had been in career best form with a close third in the NZ Trotting FFA and a fifth in the Dominion in her last two races.

A winner of six races and $82,000 from just 32 starts, Le Lievre’s Gift has been served by Father Patrick.

But newcomer Tango Tara has been like a ray of hope with an almost faultless start to his career, winning his last two races at Addington after a second on debut.

The three-year-old colt by A Rocknroll Dance has drawn wide in 1980m mobiles in each of his races and has another poor second line draw this week in an R56-75 event at Addington which is chock-full of rising talent and form.

“He’s still pretty green and needs the racing before the Premier meeting in two weeks,” said Curtin.

“Hopefully our turn for a good draw will come then.

“He’s been nominated for the New Zealand Derby and the next couple of starts will tell us if he’s going to be up to that I guess.”

Tango Tara made a run around the field over the last lap in each of his first two races and raised a few eyebrows when he won the second of them.

He was going to win easily but paced roughly half up way up the straight and Curtin had to grab hold of him.

It looked like fellow three-year-olds Bettor Getta Lover and Chatty Man were going to beat Tango Tara but he came again to score going away.

Curtin drove Tango Tara differently last week, opting to stay back in the running, and they were spotting the leaders several lengths on the turn, but they swamped another good three-year-old in J B Mauney with a good burst of speed.

“He’d had a couple of hard runs and if you keep doing that with a colt you can break their hearts.

“He’s got a bit of toughness and he’s still got a lot to learn so there’s scope there for quite a bit of improvement hopefully.

“You never really know what they’re going to do with a horse from the first crop of a sire, but he has shown signs of being a good horse.”

Tango Tara is the first foal from Tara Delight, a Bettor’s Delight half-sister to top pacers Power Of Tara and A G’s White Socks. Tiger Tara is from another half-sister to Tara Delight.

He was bought by Curtin’s stable patron Russell Nieper after qualifying for Greg and Nina Hope at Rangiora in late October.

Tango Tara won very nicely that day and he has now been seen in public 10 times for seven wins and three placings.

“He was on the market to Australia but he had a couple of splints and the buyer didn’t like that.

“We were looking for one at the time so I went and had a drive and he looked pretty good to me.”

Curtin and Nieper have had a great run together buying going horses and the latter must have a cabinet full of Cups.

It began with Westport, Reefton and Invercargill Cup winner Highview Badlands (9 wins, $143,000) and around the same time they had Radar Installed, who won 10 races and $107,000 before a good sale to America.

Franco Emirate has been easily the best of them though. The son of Christian Cullen won the Messenger and a 4YO Emerald in 2011 after earlier winning a Westport Cup that season.

Franco Emirate broke down on the eve of the 2012 New Zealand Cup when looking one of the top chances.

Maximan wasn’t far away though and he had five straight wins including the Westport, Reefton and Manawatu Cups before a sale to Australia, where he has taken his stakes past $330,000.

Le Lievre’s Gift had been flying the flag more recently, but in Tango Tara, Curtin and Nieper would seem to have a very nice replacement.

-NZ Harness News