Texas Tiger on trial for Derby tilt

By Garrick Knight

It’s only a month away, but Pam Turner is daring to dream of the Northern Derby with her promising sophomore pacer, Texas Tiger.

The three-year-old son of American Ideal has his second run up on a new campaign at Alexandra Park tonight and will likely start favourite.

“He’s very good at the moment and I’m very happy with him.” Pukekohe-based Turner told HRNZ.

“We had a bit of trouble getting him to go right-handed last season so he’s been gelded and had a break and we started again.”

Steve Telfer was training Texas Tiger but recommended Turner bring the horse home and train him herself.

“Steve did a good job with him, but he was getting a little bit wayward and Steve thought the one-on-one focus of a smaller stable would help him.

“The other option was to send him to Australia to race, but we didn’t really want to do that.”

Turner and husband Lindsay have quietly pencilled in the $200,000 Northern Derby on March 7 as a target, but understand the horse needs to stick his hand up before then.

“That’s what we are hoping for.

“We’ll have to see how he goes this week. He has a lot of high speed and I wouldn’t mind putting him in the Prelude in a few weeks to see how he goes.”

It was a fine run for second when resuming on January 24, especially since the race didn’t really pan out in his favour.

From an outside draw he had to go back to last and then couldn’t get a suitable drag in to the finish.

He came solo four-wide on the bend and hit the line well, but leader Dina Brown had slipped the cutter by that stage.

“It was a good effort, I thought,” said Turner.

“We were never going to hustle him out of the gate just to get his confidence up that way around.

“But he went super after that. If he’d got carted in to it he would have been ok, but it didn’t happen.”

Turner says they’ve just paid Texas Tiger up for the Breeders Crown and the Harness Jewels at Cambridge is firmly in her plans, too.

While she doesn’t train it, Turner could well have two horses start favourite on the night when her classy mare Tiger Swift drops back in grade.

She’s a Group 1 performer that has just not had the rub of the green for Cambridge trainer Ross Paynter and connections are confident she can return to winning form this week.

“To be fair, her races haven’t really been run to suit.

“She’s been getting back in the field and they’re coming home in 26, which means she’s no show.

“She’s a far better follower of speed and this week, back in grade, with a good draw, we think she’ll go a lot better.”

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