Tiger books trip

By Adam Hamilton

TWO things firmly stamped Tiger Tara as the horse to beat in next Saturday night’s $250,000 Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park.

First was his ultra-impressive winning return at Menangle last night (Saturday).

And second was the upset win of veteran Ohoka Punter in last night’s (Saturday) Group 1 Sunshine Sprint at Albion Park.

No disrespect to Ohoka Punter, but the fact he beat boom stablemate Colt Thirty One and others will surely have put a spring in the step of Tiger Tara’s trainer Kevin Pizzuto.

Colt Thirty One was crunched into $1.45 favourite, but had to blaze a 26sec opening quarter to hold the front from Alta Orlando and was always some query after that for a horse who hasn’t be used off the gate much.

Trainer-driver Grant Dixon slowed a dawdling 32sec second split, but it was evident at the top of the straight Colt Thirty One had a battle on his hands and the four-year-old was unable to hold-out his rising 10-year-old stablemate along the sprint lane.

It was a Dixon and owner Kevin Seymour quinella, but not in the order punters wanted.

Ohoka Punter snatched a 1.3m win with young driver Paul Diebert aboard in a cosy 1min53.2sec mile rate, well outside Im Themightyquinn’s 1min50.4sec race and track record.

It was by the far the biggest win for Diebert, who moved from NSW to work for Dixon just before last Christmas.

“It’s unbelievable. Kevin (Seymour) was at me all week saying this old horse would run a great race,” Diebert said.

The much-travelled Ohoka Punter will be chasing his second Blacks A Fake win next week, having won it when trained and driven by Nathan Purdon.

But Tiger Tara looms ominously after pacing a 1min54.7sec mile rate for 2300m first-up at Menangle.

“He ran home in 54.8 and 27.1 and Todd (McCarthy, driver) was stoked,” Pizzuto said. “He did it so well and now it’s off to Queensland.

“I’m not sure exactly when I’ll take him up, but his last workout will be here so it’ll be later in the week.”

It was Tiger Tara’s first run since finishing fifth in the Miracle Mile more than four months ago.

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