By Adam Hamilton
THE always entertaining Kevin Pizzuto keeps shaking his head at how well Tiger Tara has returned to racing.
And he’s certainly not fazed by a back row draw against two of Victoria’s emerging stars in Saturday night’s $50,000 Group 2 Cranbourne Cup (2550m).
Pizzuto was also quick to dismiss suggestions he was asking a lot of Tiger Tara to race for a third successive week – two of those involving road trips from Sydney to Melbourne.
“None of it worries me when I look at this horse. He’s thriving on it. He’s putting on weight,” he said.
“That spell he had, an even the couple of weeks because of the car accident we had, I think it’s all been a blessing in disguise.
“He’s come back better. He’s come back bigger and he’s come back faster.”
Tiger Tara was quickly crunched in from $2.40 to $1.85 on the Aussie TAB despite being the lone back row runner (gate eight) at Cranbourne.
His major rivals are Emma Stewart’s budding open-class star Shadow Sax (gate seven, $2.80 into $2.70) and another exciting prospect, Perth Inter Dominion finalists San Carlo (gate six, $6.50 into $4.50).
“The way he’s going, they’ll have to be good to beat him,” Pizzuto said.
“I decided to take him to Cranbourne because it’s a 2550m race and that’s better for his NZ Cup build-up rather than going around in the mile race at Menangle on Sunday.
“He’s had the Victoria Cup (2240m), a 2300m at Menangle last week and now this one. It’s getting the miles into his legs for the NZ Cup.”
Pizzuto confirmed Tiger Tara was on a November 5 flight to New Zealand and plans were for speedy stablemate Majordan, who runs at Menangle on Sunday, to join him.
X X X
HOW Tornado Valley travels to Cranbourne on Saturday night as much as how well he performs will decide whether he raids NZ Cup Week.
Trainer Andy Gath has been keen to tackle the Dominion Trot, but has become increasingly concerned with Tornado Valley’s travelling antics.
“It’s been an issue and turned us off the NZ idea. He’s want to do everything right on the Cranbourne trip this week, and run well of course, for entertain the idea of going across,” Gath said.
“I’d say it’s unlikely at this stage. We’ve got to keep in mind he’s got the Inter Dominion and Great Southern Star still to come over here.”
It’s a different story with Kyvalley Blur, the $3.30 second elect and main danger to Tornado Valley, at Cranbourne.
He’s right on target for NZ and Anthony Butt has been booked to drive.
“He’s going to be a big danger again this week,” Gath said. “What is he, an 11 year-old now? You wouldn’t know it, he’s absolutely flying.”