By 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.
X X X
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.
X X X
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.