Trying times for Tiger
By Adam Hamilton
AUSTRALIA’S best pacer Tiger Tara is in limbo.
His past two runs have been well below his best, he’s nowhere near peak fitness and Sydney’s big wet is severely hampering his training.
It’s likely he will be scratched from what would normally be an ideal race, a 2300m free-for-all at Menangle on Saturday night.
“I’ve got a bit on my plate with him at the moment,” a very open trainer Kevin Pizzuto conceded. “And the worst part is, there’s not much I can do about it until the weather turns here. I wanted to give him a strong workout this morning, but it’s so wet the track was washed-out.
“He’s not fit, nowhere near it. I’d say he’s been 50 per cent or so in those past two runs.
“Am I worried, no, because I know my horse and I can turn him around, but in the short term it is an issue.
“Unless this weather turns quickly and I can give him a strong training workout, I’ll scratch him this week because I’m not taking him there so underdone again.”
Pizzuto said everything has gone wrong since a rushed trip to Queensland in July for the Group 1 Blacks A Fake.
“I almost had him back where I wanted for that, but he had a hard run and trip up so I laid off him after that … he’s older again and he just got away on me,” he said.
“It’s my fault. I’ll own it. It’s now a challenge to get him back in that real zone again where’s really fit and races at his top.”
But Pizzuto was quick to stress he remains confident of peaking Tiger Tara for another raid on the NZ Cup.
“I’ve got plenty of time for that,” he said. “But I am looking at my options to give him the best preparation and that may mean some extended time down in Melbourne where the races are more suitable.
“There’s the Kilmore Cup (2690m) Thursday week, the Smoken Up Sprint (1720m, October 5) and the Victoria Cup (2240m, October 12).
“Right now, I’m probably leaning towards getting him down and going through some or all of those races.”