Aussie News - 2 November 2018
By Adam Hamilton
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.”
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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.