By Adam Hamilton
THIS was supposed to be a ho-hum Inter Dominion pacing series, but instead it will be remembered for one of the great wins by a real pacing warrior.
Anyone who has watched Tiger Tara over the past 12 months, especially just last month in the NZ Cup, would agree he deserved last night’s win.
But those same people would be surprised by the dominant and easy way he did it.
And all of that after he, trainer Kevin Pizzuto and assistant trainer Karen Crouch were involved in a frightening car accident.
“We could’ve died,” Pizzuto said. “A car T-boned us and we crashed off the road. Karen broke some ribs, I hit the windscreen and when I got to the horses, they were all down on the floor of the float, including Tiger.
“At first I thought Tiger had broken a leg or something.
“I’m still getting over the accident and the memory issues it’s caused me, so to have him go to NZ and do what he did then come out and win this just amazing.”
Tiger Tara blitzed his rivals by 14.4m in a 1min53.9sec mile rate for 2760m, which took 0.2sec off Lazarus’ track record.
The race changed soon after the start when Galactic Star was crossed by Mach Doro then Galactic Star broke stride and caused the field to spread-out.
Meanwhile driver Todd McCarthy kept Tiger Tara out deep and kept surging forward to find the lead from Mach Doro.
What looked a horror draw in gate seven was suddenly irrelevant.
“I got it fairly soft once I found the front and I said to myself with a lap to go that I had to take the zip out of them and make them chase, so I cut the ribbons and went for home down the back straight,” McCarthy said.
Tiger Tara blazed a 26.2sec split from the 800m to 400m opened-up a huge lead and still finished-off in a 27.9sec closing quarter.
“This means the world to me,” McCarthy said. “And to share it with Kev (Pizzuto) is extra special. He’s been so good to me. All credit goes to him, it’s been an amazing training effort.
“I thought he felt tired on the line at Cranbourne last week, but when I turned up tonight he looked fantastic and Kev said he was spot-on. He was right.”
Pizzuto is now seriously looking at a Perth raid for net month’s Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups.
“Give me a few days to digest this and think it over, but he loves the small tracks and it would really suit him over here. Plus, look at him, he could go around again right now,” Pizzuto said an hour after the win.
All Stars pair Spankem and Cruz Bromac finished third and fourth respectively, but never really looked winning chances.
“Spankem ran well and Toddy just ran us off our feet down the back straight,” co-trainer and driver Mark Purdon said. “Natalie (Rasmussen) was a bit disappointed that Cruz Bromac didn’t finish his race off better.”
Im Pats Delight was held-up at different stages, lost momentum, but just battled when he say daylight in the home straight to finish fifth.
The revelation of the series and by far the second best run of the final came from runner-up Our Uncle Sam, who sustained a big three, four and five wide run from behind Spankem and Cruz Bromac to finish a clear second.
And Galactic Star, who galloped back to last after his early mistake, did a mighty job to recover and finish sixth.