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Kevin Pizzuto is changing tack with Tiger Tara to get his NZ Cup raid back on target. Three defeats in as many runs this campaign and a couple of them well below his best, have the doubters lining-up. That comes with the territory when you’re a nine-year-old. But Pizzuto remains optimistic Tiger Tara will once again be a major player on the second Tuesday of November at Addington. And he resorting to a proven path to make it happen. “His next run won’t be until the Victoria Cup (October 12),” he said. “I’ll do what’s worked in the past, get him fit at home and just use a private trial. “He was only 75 per cent fit the other night. His run wasn’t bad at all considering the time they went and where I know he’s at.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            “I’m not racing him here, I can get him fitter at home. It’s worked so many times before. "I can have him peak for the Victoria Cup if everything goes right between now and then.” So what about the NZ Cup? “It’s been the aim all along because it’s the most suitable race there is for him,” Pizzuto said. “Nothing has changed. He’ll just need to show us in the Victoria Cup that he’s right on target.”   HRNZ News

The indecision is over and superstar pacer Tiger Tara will chase NZ Cup glory again this year. Trainer Kevin Pizzuto had refused to be drawn on plans with his reigning Inter Dominion champion, but today confirmed the NZ Cup was again his major target. “Everything now is about having at his top for NZ Cup Day,” Pizzuto said. “He’s back and going well and I’ll just take him through the free-for-alls here before we head back across to Christchurch. “He’s an older horse and I need to keep him in work, even though there aren’t any big races for him for a while.” Tiger Tara has won two of three runs back from a spell, the latest in a slick 1min53.9sec mile rate for the longer 2300m trip at Menangle in cold and very windy conditions last night. “I know he didn’t win by much, but it was a big win because the wind was so strong,” Pizzuto said. “I’m sure he’s going as well as ever and I’m still hurting over getting so close in last year’s NZ Cup without winning it.” Pizzuto has the option of heading to Melton for the $200,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup on October 12 – a race Tiger Tara won last year – but he said it’s more likely he would go across to NZ earlier than last year and have his final lead-up race over there. “That’s what I’m thinking, go over there earlier than last year. Maybe a race like Ashburton,” Pizzuto said. “If I do that, I wouldn’t take him to Victoria.” And what about defending that Inter Dominion crown in Auckland from November 29? “It’s likely, but I won’t say definite yet,” Pizzuto said. “I’m only looking as far as ahead as the NZ Cup. If he gets through that well, then I’ll look at staying over there.”   Adam Hamilton

With the Grand Circuit title safely in his keeping, Sydney trainer Kevin Pizzuto wants to put an exclamation point against the 2018/19 harness racing season. Millionaire pacer Tiger Tara has dominated the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit season with victories coming via the Inter Dominion Pacing Championship Grand Final, Hunter and Victoria Cups plus an agonisingly close second in the New Zealand Cup. The Bettors Delight entire has been ruthless, methodical and downright scary good. And now, he’s chasing the final leg of the eight race series with the Gr.1 $250,000 TAB Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship at Albion Park this Saturday night. Following a freshen-up after being unplaced in the Miracle Mile at Tabcorp Park, Menangle back on March 2, Tiger Tara scored a clinical victory last weekend under the orders of regular reinsman Todd McCarthy. In his only start at Albion Park back in 2017; Tiger Tara was the beaten favourite when third behind Hectorjayjay and My Field Marshal in the Blacks A Fake, the biggest event staged in the Sunshine State, run over the staying distance of 2680m. Last year, the Tim Butt trained and Dexter Dunn driven Let It Ride scored a decisive victory but will not return to defend his title. Tiger Tara has amassed 370 points to date while his nearest rivals include Thefixer (164) while Our Uncle Sam and Spankem (both 120) sit nearby on the leaderboard. Only Our Uncle Sam will contest the Brisbane event this weekend while the All Stars duo of Thefixer and Spankem have bypassed the feature. The recently retired Lazarus claimed back to back Grand Circuit Champion titles during the past two seasons while Tiger Tara will become the first Australian trained Grand Circuit champion since Lennytheshark shared spoils with Smolda during the 2016 term. Tiger Tara will start from a second-line draw after landing gate 12 but will start the punters elect given his domination of feature staying events this season. The Bathurst trained Our Uncle Sam has seen plenty of Tiger Tara this term with placings in both the Inter Dominion Grand Final and the Hunter Cup but seeks his own moment of glory and gains a perfect opportunity after landing gate two. Prepared by father/son partnership of Chris and Anthony Frisby, Our Uncle Sam will command plenty of respect. Local hero Colt Thirty One, fresh from his shock loss last weekend in the Sunshine Sprint will require some luck after copping a second-line draw. The multiple feature race winner led out in a brutal opening quarter burn before being outsprinted by his stablemate Ohoka Punter over the concluding stages, the Mach Three four-year-old will start from gate 11 this weekend. Colt Thirty One, prepared by the country’s leading trainer Grant Dixon, is one of his four runners lining up in his home state feature alongside Ohoka Punter (gate 7), Eleniark (gate 1) and Alleluia (gate 10). Interestingly, Ohoka Punter is chasing his second victory in the Blacks A Fake following his triumph back in 2016 when under the care of outstanding young horseman Nathan Purdon. Sydney trainer Craig Cross is duly represented with former New Zealand pacers Cash N Flow (gate 3) and Alta Orlando (gate 13) both backing-up following their unplaced efforts last week in the Sunshine Sprint. The Blake Fitzpatrick prepared Letspendanitetogetha (gate 9) is also backing-up this weekend from the Sunshine Sprint and draws directly behind Our Uncle Sam. A recent winner of the Golden Mile at Menangle, the New Zealand owned gelding rates as a knockout chance. Another former New Zealand pacer chasing his biggest prize to date is the Chantal Turpin trained Watch Pulp Fiction (gate 4) after finishing third behind Ohoka Punter and Colt Thirty One last weekend in the Sunshine Sprint. Turpin is the only female trainer represented in the Blacks A Fake this year. And while Luke and Todd McCarthy are pitted against each other, another pair of brothers also go head to head with Brendan and Hayden Barnes vying for the major prize. Brendan takes the drive on the Jack Butler trained Rock With Sam (gate 6) while Hayden drives Northview Hustler (gate 8) for his father Alistair. The emergency for the event is Holy Camp Clive (gate 5). In total, the field has won 281 races while amassing more than $6,723,477 in stakes. The track record was set last year by Let It Ride at 1:54.8. The Gr.1$250,000 TAB Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship is race 8 on the program and scheduled to start at 9.00pm local time. 8 9:00pm 2019 TAB BLACKS A FAKE QUEENSLAND CHAMPIONSHIP (G1) 2680M $250,660 No NR. RBD. Mobile  FIRST 4     Form Horse Trainer Other Eng. Driver   Class  Hcp   1 15813 ELENIARK  Grant Dixon   Mark Purdon   NR108 B1  FR1   2 1s72r OUR UNCLE SAM  Chris Frisby   Anthony Frisby   NR100 B3  FR2   3 11200 CASH N FLOW NZ  Craig Cross   Luke McCarthy   NR120 B1  FR3   4 09703 WATCH PULP FICTION NZ  Chantal Turpin   Pete McMullen   NR93 B1  FR4   5 32119 HOLY CAMP CLIVE (Em 1)  Chris Frisby   Dean Cernovskis   NR98 B3  FR-   6 61338 ROCK WITH SAM  Jack Butler   Brendan Barnes   NR100 B2  FR5   7 32271 OHOKA PUNTER NZ  Grant Dixon   Paul Diebert   NR120 B1  FR6    ------------------------------ Second Row ------------------------------  8 04554 NORTHVIEW HUSTLER NZ  Alistair Barnes   Hayden Barnes   NR108 B2  SR1   9 26167 LETSPENDANITETOGETHA NZ  Blake Fitzpatrick   Blake Fitzpatrick   NR105 B2  SR2   10 77940 ALLELUIA NZ  Grant Dixon   Adam Sanderson   NR97 B1  SR3   11 11112 COLT THIRTY ONE  Grant Dixon   Grant Dixon   NR120 B1  SR4   12 125s1 TIGER TARA NZ  Kevin Pizzuto   Todd McCarthy   NR120 B1  SR5   13 24226 ALTA ORLANDO NZ  Craig Cross   Luke McCarthy   NR98 B4  SR6

One of the biggest questions harness racing fans were asking before the running of today's $100,000 TAB Len Smith was 'would the real Majordan show up and give his best?' Champion reinsman Todd McCarthy admitted it was a fine line with the speedy son of Art Major as to whether or not that Majordan would be able to match it with his rivals when the mobile starter let them go. The good news is, the big fellow was right on his game and the Kevin Pizzuto-trained pacer came out of barrier one and surged to a stunning 1:49.6 win over a gutsy Our Uncle Sam (Anthony Frisby), scoring by a head, with Victorian visitor Jilliby Bandit a strong third. Pizzuto described Majordan as a "beast" after a he impressed everyone with a strong recent trial and he showed why when Replaced Eye came firing out of the gate and Majordan had to be hunted up by McCarthy to hold the lead. "It was either that or possibly hand up and try and retake the lead," said Todd. "I'm just happy the real Majordan showed up today - sometimes it's in the lap of the gods which one will be here." Todd described the Len Smith as one of the elite harness races in this country. "This is my first win in this race so it's pretty special," he said.     Majordan "I have to give Gordon Banks and Mark Hanover a special mention for letting me drive this horse . . . he's pretty good, this bloke. Pizzuto agreed: "Both horse and driver were on their game today and it could not have worked out any better," said Pizzuto, one of the leading trainers in this country and something of a master at having his horses peak when the feature races roll around. He may be forced to consider taking Majordan to Queensland for their features as his other stable star Tiger Tara is already booked to head north for the stable in coming days. Sean Vella

KEVIN Pizzuto’s scaled back his numbers and been unusually quite of late, but all that’s about to change. The colourful trainer’s two stable stars – Inter Dominion hero Tiger Tara and star speedster Majordan – are primed for racetrack returns. Majordan will be first back to the track, being specifically set for a first-up tilt at Sunday week’s $100,000 Group 1 Len Smith Mile at Menangle. And, judging by his Menangle trial last Tuesday, the US-owned pacer is the horse they all have to beat. Majordan put almost 20m on his rivals in a scorching 1min49.5sec mile trial. Clockers can’t recall a faster trial run in Australia. “That’s what I wanted, a really serious hitout because he will be first-up in the big one. But it’s worth noting Todd (McCarthy, driver) said he could’ve gone 1min48sec and he never moved on him. He’s come back really well,” Pizzuto said. Providing he runs as well as expected in Len Smith, Majordan will then head to Brisbane for a winter campaign. Tiger Tara will accompany Majordan up north, but it will Majordan alone who contests the $100,000 Group 1 Sunshine Sprint on July 13. “I know my horses and Tiger Tara’s best hope of winning the Blacks A Fake is going into first-up (July 20),” Pizzuto said. Tiger Tara will have his first private trial back this campaign at Bankstown on Tuesday. “He’s working better than Majordan, so all signs are he’s come back at least as well as last time in work,” Pizzuto said. Pizzuto has more time to focus on Tiger Tara and Majordan after dramatically cutting his team from 35 to just 11 horses out of frustration. “It’s just so hard in NSW. You win a couple of races then your horses are racing against each other and given bad barriers under the system up here,” he said. “It became so hard to keep my owners happy. They wanted horses staying in work for too long to earn and, in the end, it was best to cut my numbers and focus on quality,” Pizzuto said. “I got really frustrated and things weren’t changing here, so I had to do something myself.”   Adam Hamilton

There is a silver lining to Tiger Tara’s season-ending defeat in Saturday night’s $1million Ainsworth Miracle Mile.  Because the New South Wales pacing hero will now definitely return for next season even though he will mix it with stud duties. And that means he is almost certainly heading back to Addington for another shot at the New Zealand Cup.   After crushing wins in the Victoria and Hunter Cups and the Inter Dominion this season Tiger Tara was never a factor at Menangle on Saturday night, settling back and struggling to make ground as Spankem led throughout to win easily.  The defeat takes nothing away from Tiger Tara’s wonderful season but had he won the Mile there almost could have been a feeling of nothing left to achieve, as well as the obvious boost to his already commercial future stallion career.  But trainer Kevin Pizzuto says the rising nine-year-old will do both next season, with the main concentration being on racing.  “He has had a wonderful season but it is time for a break,” said Pizzuto.  “He can have 6-8 weeks off and then he will come back and almost certainly have a decent New Zealand campaign next spring.  “But he will definitely be back racing as well as doing so stud duty.”  That likely means another tilt at the New Zealand Cup, which Tiger Tara has been placed in three times, in November before staying in New Zealand since the Inter Dominion will be in Auckland in December.   But he will mix those racing obligations with stud duties, not that he will actually do both at the same time.  Because harness racing has artificial insemination, which is not allowed in thoroughbred breeding, Pizzutto can have semen collected from Tiger Tara in the off-season and used to kick start his commercial stallion career next breeding season before making that the full time focus when he retires from racing. “We did a bit of that this season just as a little tester and he already had six mares in foal,” explains Pizzutto.  “So for any broodmare owners who want to breed to him he will be available at $5000 for next season but we can collect all the semen and then race him on.” That is great news for harness fans and administrators alike as Tiger Tara is the biggest drawcard in the industry and a clash between him, the plethora of All Stars pacers and the likes of Poster Boy would be gold for races like the Inter Dominion, Hunter Cup and even next season’s Miracle Mile.   Michael Guerin

AUSTRALASIA’S champion pacer Tiger Tara will headline a trio of Miracle Mile hopefuls Kevin Pizzuto will run at Menangle next Saturday night. Pizzuto confirmed star speedster Majordan and his Chariots of Fire fifth placegetter Picard would also tackle one of the Miracle Mile qualifiers this week. “Picard’s come through the Chariots and he’ll be fitter for the run as well. He’s going around this week again for sure,” Pizzuto said. “He did all the work and was only beaten five metres. I know he’ll be better for it.” Majordan’s turbulent campaign took a crucial turn for the better when he did everything right and blasted away a good field, headed by NZ Cup winner Thefixer, at Menangle last Saturday night. Pizzuto reaffirmed what he’s been saying for months that Majordan rates right along Tiger Tara as a Miracle Mile prospect. “Tiger Tara’s got all the form on the board, but over a mile at Menangle, Majordan is right at home,” he said. “He’s been a bit fresh and doing things wrong. I’ve changed his bit, got some more work into him and he won really well the other night. “I can assure you he’ll keep getting better now. When he’s galloped in this races, he’s missed the hitout. Last night will bring him on a lot more.” So what about Tiger Tara and his quest to complete a total dominance of our biggest races by winning the Miracle Mile? “He’s well. Really well. He his work was fantastic on Saturday and he’ll another strong workout at Bankstown this week,” Pizzuto said. “I’m glad now I skipped Newcastle and gave him a few quiet days after the Hunter Cup. “He’s freshened-up well and with a mile run under his belt this week, he’ll be absolutely spot-on on for the (Miracle) Mile.” The latest Aussie TAB Miracle Mile market shows Pizzuto’s key role with Tiger Tara $3.60 favourite, Majordan $7 third elect and Picard at $21. Adam Hamilton

HARNESS racing’s man of the moment has good news and bad news for punters.  The good news from trainer Kevin Pizzuto is his superstar pacer Tiger Tara may not be headed for retirement at the end of the season as he has suggested.  The bad news is Pizzuto can’t shed any light on which one of his two market dominators will win tomorrow night’s $100,000 Ave Technologies Newcastle Mile.  The Newcastle dash for cash has had a huge stakes boost and is now an automatic qualifying race for harness racing’s most important event, the $1million Miracle Mile at Menangle on March 2.  While Tiger Tara is the undoubted poster boy of pacing and star of Pizzuto’s team his stablemates Majordan and Picard are also in career best form and give him a mighty one-two punch in tomorrow night’s sprint.  But Pizzuto, rarely one to be short of an opinion, says he can’t split the pair.  “There is nothing between them because Picard is flying,” he offers.  “A lot will depend on who begins best and gets the lead, which is how they both race best.  “But for punters I can’t split them.” That is testament to how far Picard has come in recent weeks as Majordan is the Newcastle track record holder after pacing 1:51.4 to win this race last season by 20m, albeit when it was worth a lot less and run in May.  He was surprisingly caught by a race rival tomorrow night in Maximan in the closing stages of their clash at Menangle last Saturday night but that was after a blistering early 400m from a wide draw to reach the lead.  Tomorrow night Majordan looks more likely to lead easily and then dictate the race and he has already shortened into $1.50 with the TAB as Picard drifted to $3, with the rivals that settle behind the pair likely to need to smash the clock to threaten them.  If Picard does win and is automatically invited into the Miracle Mile, Pizzuto will have to choose between starting in it or the Chariots of Fire at Menangle on Saturday week as he can’t accept the Miracle Mile invite and start in another race beforehand. Meanwhile, Pizzuto says Tiger Tara, who is sweeping all before him this season, could race on next term.  “I said the other day when I was all pumped up that I was going to retire him next season but I reckon I might have another crack at the NZ Cup.  “So that decision definitely isn’t confirmed yet. I just got a bit carried away.”   Michael Guerin

DEFENDING champion Majordan has opened as the favourite for Friday night’s Group 1 AVE Technologies Newcastle Mile.  The Kevin Pizzuto-trained pacer is the $1.80 elect with TAB Fixed Odds over stablemate Picard at $2.20. Both pacers have drawn beside each other with Majordan in three and Picard in four. Driver Chris Geary is pleased with Majordan’s starting position. “It’s really good, he comes out of barrier two with the removal of the first emergency so hopefully he can push forward and be handy,” said Geary. “It looks a pretty suitable race for him.” Majordan set the track record at Newcastle when winning last year’s Newcastle Mile clocking 1:51.4. This edition of the Newcastle Mile received a major prizemoney boost and will carry a purse of $100,000 making it the only Group 1 race in the Hunter Region in all three racing codes. The winner will also receive an automatic invitation to the $1million Miracle Mile on March 2. AVE Technologies Newcastle Mile – GROUP 1 (1609m) 1   Little Rascal 2   Yayas Hot Spot (EM1) 3   Majordan 4   Picard 5   Loorrim Creek 6   Maximan 7   Rakarolla 8   Lombo Kotakinabalu (EM2) 9   Mattgregor 10            Ultimate Art     AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER (02) 9722 6600 •  arando@hrnsw.com.au •  @Amanda_Rando

It takes a special horse to claim the Victoria Cup, Inter Dominion and Hunter Cup. But it takes a great horse to do it in the same season. Brilliant pacer Tiger Tara joins Preux Chevalier in this exclusive club following his rampaging victory in the Gr.1 $500,000 Del Re National A G Hunter Cup at TABCORP Park, Melton tonight (Saturday). And again, it was brutal power running at its finest. It was a carbon copy performance of both his Victoria Cup and Inter Dominion triumphs this season. Starting from gate three, driver Todd McCarthy fired Tiger Tara to the lead and just kept improving his position thereafter to claim the 2760m feature defeating Our Uncle Sam and San Carlo. The lead time was covered in 81.2 seconds. With Tiger Tara controlling the speed, rivals were making their moves early with Buster Brady moving around San Carlo quickly who was sitting without cover before the All Stars duo of Cruz Bromac and Thefixer made moves and attempted to assert their authority on the event. The first half of the final mile was covered in identical splits of 28.9 seconds. And McCarthy was only starting to up the pressure as he headed into the back straight; Tiger Tara was hiking along while rivals were starting to feel the pain. It only intensified as Tiger Tara charged off the back in a sectional of 27.2 seconds. Tiger Tara widened his advantage with Our Uncle Sam doing his best to hold his place after trailing the hard-running leader throughout while San Carlo emerged late as a place possibility. Both Thefixer and Cruz Bromac gave ground quickly. In the straight, Tiger Tara ($1.90 fav) charged clear and scored easily by 14.5 metres over Our Uncle Sam ($6.80) with another 12.7 metres back to San Carlo ($39.40) in third. The final split was covered in 28 seconds. The winning mile rate was 1:53.2 – easily eclipsing his own track record set when successful in the Inter Dominion back in December at 1:53.9. “He’s an amazing animal and he deserves everything this horse.” Trainer Kevin Pizzuto beamed immediately after the event. The Bettors Delight entire has now won 35 races while his earnings are now in excess of $2.27 million. The victory has also clinched the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit title following his mauling’s in the Garden State features this term. Tiger Tara has amassed 360 points – Victoria Cup, Inter Dominion & Hunter Cup victories plus a nose second behind Thefixer in the New Zealand Cup at Addington back on November 13. Only two legs of the APG Grand Circuit remain – the Miracle Mile at TABCORP Park, Menangle on March 2 followed by the Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship at Albion Park on July 20. And both events are well within the reach of Tiger Tara. While Tiger Tara and Preux Chevalier stand alone with victories in the Victoria Cup, Inter Dominion and Hunter Cup in the same season, they’re joined by the likes of Koala King, Blacks A Fake, Mr Feelgood and Lazarus as winners of the Big 3 events but across different seasons. Chris Barsby for Harness Racing Australia

TIGER Tara’s stunning Hunter Cup win wasn’t Kevin Pizzuto’s only major win last night, Pizzuto’s four-year-old Picard made it two wins from as many starts this campaign and booked a spot in the Chariots Of Fire. Picard blasted to the front from gate nine, steadied through a 29sec second quarter then rocketed home in 53.3 (26.4 an d 26.9) to win the Group Hondo Grattan. “I told you he’s good,” Pizzuto said. “He’s the reason I missed races like Perth and the Ballarat Cup with Tiger … to get this guy ready for the Chariots.” The All Stars’ Ashley Locaz was the hardluck story, emerging too late from a three pegs pocket and storming home to run second, just 1.2m from the winner. The first four home qualified for the Chariots Of Fire, including Hail Christian (third) and The Black Prince (fourth). Poster Boy qualified through the 4YO Bonanza win at Melton last week, so five spots remain going into next Saturday’s Paleface Adios. That field include the likes of Spankem, Chase Auckland, Ignatius, Maraetai, Rackemup Tigerpie, All You Need Is Faith and Colt Thirty One. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ THERE is just no stopping Kima Frenning. The former Swede added to her golden past 12 months with another Group 1 win aboard emerging trotter Big Jack Hammer at Melton last night. Frenning used gate one to sit behind the leader and favourite Save Our Pennys and finished strongly along the sprint lane to win the $50,000 Group 1 Dullard Cup. It was her second Group 1 win, the other coming aboard Wrappers Delight in last season’s Vicbred 4YO final. “I’m lost for words. He’s such a lovely trotter, so fast and off a run like that I knew he’d be hard to beat,” Frenning said. “Aik (trainer David Aiken) has really liked this horse since came to the stable and that’s why we had a go at the Inter Dominion.” Big Jack Hammer posted a slick 1min57.5sec mile rate for 2240m. “To win this for Aik is great, but also for Dom (Martello, owner), who has been such a big supporter of mine,” Frenning said. Martello also owns Wrappers Delight. Save Our Pennys had its chance after leading, while Kiwi raider Temporale ran yet another minor placing (third) in Australia. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ A TOUGH Inter Dominion campaign certainly hasn’t jaded veteran Maximan. The 10-year-old has returned to Menangle in great style and ran down star speedster Majordan to win in a 1min50.4sec mile last night. Admittedly Majordan did have to burn a 25.9sec opening quarter to lead from the outside, but he still ran home in 26.4sec and was unable to hold-off Maximan. Maximan and Majordan are now expected to clash again in Friday night’s $100,000 Group 1 Newcastle Mile. Trainer Kevin Pizzuto said Majordan’s stablemate, Tiger Tara, also remains a chance of backing-up at Newcastle. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ CHASE Auckland did what was needed at Menangle last night. After missing a place when first-up from his long spell last week, Chase Auckland enjoyed the stretch from a mile to 2300m and finding the lead last night. Driver Luke McCarthy nursed him to the line to beat a gallant Franco Landry, who chased hard, by 2.7m in a 1min54.9sec mile. They ran home in 54.3 and 27.1sec. Chase Auckland get his one chance to qualify for the Chariots Of Fire, a race he was a long-time favourite for, in star-studded Paleface Adios at Menangle next Saturday night. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ NEXT stop Sydney for classy Kiwi mare Utmost Delight. The five-year-old gave Steven Reid his second win of the Summer of Glory when she lifted after looking beaten to win the Group 3 Pure Steel against the boys at Melton last night. And she’s into $5 for the Group 1 Ladyship Mile at Menangle. Utmost Delight settled midfield before stand-in driver Greg Sugars made the move to sit parked when leader Shadow Reign slowed the tempo. Utmost Delight looked beaten on the home bend, but just kept lifting and snatched victory by a whisker on the line in a slick 1min54.4sec mile rate for 2240m. “Greg Sugars gave her a good wrap and said he thought she was always going to win it,” Reid said. “I just want to get to Sydney on the big track and where they go hard in the races.” Reid said he would decide during the week who drives Utmost Delight in Sydney. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ SIDELINED superstar Chicago Bull got the all clear to resume training this week. The six-year-old has been sadly missed in the big league since a freakish stable mishap sidelined him during his time in Auckland back in October. One horse enjoying Chicago Bull’s absence has been popular WA pacer Vultan Tin, who made it back-to-back Gloucester Park wins last Friday night. The WA-bred gelding made the most of gate two to lead throughout and score easily over Team Bond’s El Jacko in a 1min57.7sec mile rate for the long 2536m trip in the $50,000 Group 2 City Of Perth Cup. Another winner of note at the Gloucester Park meeting was WA Derby hopeful Shockwave. Trained by Ryan Bell and driven by Gary Hall Jr, the son of Mach Three made it four wins from seven starts this season and seven from 17 lifetime.   Adam Hamilton

They ran and they ran and they ran, and Tiger Tara was simply better than them. Tonight’s A.G. Hunter Cup in a nutshell, as the Kevin Pizzuto-trained wonder horse from New South Wales added Victoria’s most prestigious Grand Circuit trophy to his cabinet at Tabcorp Park Melton. The eight-year-old stallion already boasts the silverware from last year’s Victoria Cup and December’s Inter Dominion Grand Final. And he didn’t just win those races either, he blitzed his opposition. All up, his accumulated winning margin for the three classics is 41.1m. “He’s an amazing animal and he deserves everything this horse,” Pizzuto said. “They said the horse wasn’t at his best tonight … but I told them he was. And he was.” Tiger Tara started $1.90 favourite and won by a whopping 14.5 metres in a new track record mile rate of 1:53.2, smashing his own previous mark by 0.7sec “He’s an absolute pleasure to be a part of,” winning reinsman 25-year-old Todd McCarthy said. “All credit to the horse and Kevin, who does such a great job with this horse.” Photos: Ashlea Brennan Photography Our Uncle Sam finished second, making it the same quinella as the ID18 final, while San Carlo ran on hard for third ahead of warhorse veteran Flaming Flutter and the fast-finishing Buster Brady. Watch the video here.   Cody Winnell for Trots Media   7 9:32pm DEL-RE NATIONAL A G HUNTER CUP (GROUP 1) 2760M $500,000 M0 Or Better. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 TIGER TARA NZ      Fr3 3 Kevin Pizzuto Todd McCarthy   $ 1.90 fav  PRS GS L 1 NTR SWAB ST HT   BAY HORSE 8 by BETTORS DELIGHT USA out of TARA GOLD (NZ) (DREAM AWAY USA)  Owner(s): M Hawli, C L Pizzuto, K J Pizzuto, T N Pizzuto  Breeder(s): R P (Raymond) Anicich 2 OUR UNCLE SAM      Fr1 1 Chris Frisby Anthony Frisby 14.5m $ 6.80   PRS GS 3 SWAB ST HT 3 SAN CARLO      Fr6 6 Stephen O'Donoghue Rebecca Bartley 27.2m $ 39.40   PRS 3WE 8 3WLT SWAB ST HT 4 FLAMING FLUTTER NZ      Fr2 2 Geoff Webster Greg Sugars 28.0m $ 109.00   PRS 7 HI CTS RR VXAR 5 BUSTER BRADY NZ      Fr4 4 Kima Frenning Kima Frenning 28.1m $ 40.20   PRS GS 3WE D/CSG 6 QUER 6 WRAPPERS DELIGHT      Sr1 8 David Aiken Gavin Lang 30.3m $ 34.60   PRS 5 7 THEFIXER NZ      Sr4 11 M Purdon, N C Rasmussen Natalie Rasmussen 33.3m $ 3.90   PRS 3WET 3WM 2 SCT QUER VXAR SCOPE 8 CRUZ BROMAC NZ      Sr2 9 M Purdon, N C Rasmussen Mark Purdon 62.0m $ 10.50   PRS 3WET INC 4 TIRE VXAR SCOPE QPP 9 STAR GALLERIA NZ      Sr3 10 Steven Reid Tony Herlihy 72.4m $ 16.60   PRS W1 3WLT TIRE QPP VXAR SCOPE 10 RAUKAPUKA RULER NZ      Fr5 5 Tim Butt Anthony Butt 82.2m $ 121.00   PRS 10 Scratchings   CANT REFUSE NZ (LATE) 7 Track Rating: Gross Time: 3:14:2 Mile Rate: 1:53:2 Lead Time: 81.2 First Quarter: 28.9 Second Quarter: 28.9 Third Quarter: 27.2 Fourth Quarter: 28 Margins: 14.5m x 12.7m  

Tiger Tara has opened a short-priced favourite for Saturday night’s Del-Re National A.G. Hunter Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton after drawing gate three for the $500,000 Grand Circuit classic at tonight's MCG barrier draw. The 2018 TAB Inter Dominion and reigning Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup championtrained by Kevin Pizzuto opened $1.50 with TAB.com.au moments after tonight’s draw, while fellow New South Wales trained pacer, Our Uncle Sam, from the Chris Frisby stable, was instantly backed into second favourite after snaring the pole draw. The ID18 runner-up opened $7 but tumbled into $4.8 quickly. PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup and New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer drew outside the back row in gate 11 for the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen team, while All Stars stablemate Cruz Bromac has to overcome gate nine. Veteran Flaming Flutter for Geoff Webster gets his chance to secure more top-level prizemoney from gate two, while fellow Victorian hopefuls Buster Brady (gate four), San Carlo (gate six), Cant Refuse (gate seven) and Wrappers Delight (gate eight) will be searching for a home-state win. Visiting New Zealand-trained Casey Classic winner Star Galleria snared gate 10, while Raukapuka Ruler has barrier five for trainer Tim Butt.   Kima Frenning, who trains and drives Buster Brady, said she was feeling confident about her horse's chances. Asked if the 2019 Hunter Cup had “come up too soon” Frenning replied: “I don’ think so … in the Ballarat Cup (fourth) he was so good, I probably didn’t do him a lot of favours in that race and his sectionals were super. I think he’s right up to the task here.” Frenning explained that Buster Brady “loved the distance” (2760 metres) but wanted to make it clear how highly she rated the former Kiwi’s speed. “He’s super quick. I shouldn’t have pulled him out when I did (at Ballarat) and he wobbled around that turn. But down the straight he was super quick and made up ground. I really think his speed is his biggest weapon," she said. From the draw Frenning said “we’ll probably roll forward” before she added tongue in cheek, “we’ll see if Toddy (McCarthy) wants to hand up”. “It’s not a great draw, but it’s not the worst draw either,” she explained. “It’s ridiculous. He’s been really, really good. He’s just such a cool horse to be around and I’m so appreciative to have him as my first horse. “It’s very exciting” Glenys Kennard, among Thefixer’s ownership, remained positive despite drawing gate 11. “You know what, that’s racing. It’s never a bad draw until after the race,” she said. “It’s always nice to be here and to take part. “What gives us confidence is he hates getting beaten, he’s got such a strong, strong will to win. He’ll definitely be giving his 120 per cent.” Steve O’Donoghue, trainer of San Carlo, said the Hunter Cup had been his stable star's “target race” all campaign. “He’s better than what he was this time last year, no doubt about that, he’s a bigger horse, more mature, this is the race I’ve probably set him for. All the way through, this is the one, the Hunter Cup, it means so much to me. The longer distance, he’s a stayer, that won’t worry him,” he said. “I’m always confident. I never lose confidence in the horse or Bec’s (driver Bec Bartley) driving.  “I’d say he’s the best I’ve ever had him. The Shepparton run was the best he’d ever done. I think I have no doubt Shepparton was his best run, gutsiest run.” O’Donoghue said San Carlo didn’t boast “instant speed” but stressed the stayer “can build into momentum” and can “maintain that speed”. More barrier draw analysis will take place tomorrow morning live at Tabcorp Park Melton when the Del-Re National A.G. Hunter Cup Breakfast of Champions kicks off at 8am.  All are welcome to attend, with RSN's Michael Felgate hosting Racing Pulse from the track live with Jason Bonnington, Dan Mielicki, Adam Hamilton and champion driver Chris Alford all featuring on the show.   Cody Winnell for Trots Media

TIGER Tara is poised to cap a truly remarkable season with victory in Saturday night’s $500,000 Group 1 Hunter Cup. He’s already won the Inter Dominion final and Victoria Cup as well as producing one of the great runs in defeat when a monstrous second to Thefixer in the NZ Cup. Now, courtesy of an almost perfect draw, Tiger Tara is the Aussie TAB’s $1.55 favourite for the Hunter Cup. And judging by how easily he’s won those two others “majors” at Melton this season, it would be a brave person to tip against him. Adding to Tiger Tara’s superb gate three is fact three of his major rivals – the three Kiwis in the race – all drew the back row: Cruz Bromac (nine), Star Galleria (10) and Thefixer (11). Had NZ and Ballarat Cup winner Thefixer drawn well, he would have been favourite. Instead he’s a $7 shot from outside the back row. The way the marbles fell, Inter Dominion runner-up Our Uncle Sam looms as Tiger Tara’s biggest danger. Most see him using gate one to sit on Tiger Tara and he was quickly backed from $7 into $5 after the draw. Trainer Kevin Pizzuto was thrilled with Tiger Tara’s draw. “You beauty. It’s a great draw,” he said. Asked where Tiger Tara was at compared to his stunningly dominant Inter Dominion win back on December 15, Pizzuto declared: “At least on par.” Tiger Tara was having his final workout at Menangle this morning (Wednesday) then being floated down to Melbourne tomorrow. HUNTER CUP DRAW Front row: Our Uncle Sam ($5), Flaming Flutter ($151), Tiger Tara ($1.55), Buster Brady ($21), Raukapuka Ruler ($41), San Carlo ($21), Cant Refuse ($151). Back row: Wrappers Delight ($21), Cruz Bromac ($10), Star Galleria ($13), Thefixer ($7).   Adam Hamilton

INTER Dominion finalist Spankem won’t contest Saturday night’s $500,000 Group 1 Hunter Cup at Melton. So Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen’s quest for a third Hunter Cup win in the past four runnings will sit with their Ballarat Cup duo Thefixer and Cruz Bromac. The Aussie TAB has NZ and Ballarat Cup winner Thefixer $2.70 equal favourite with Tiger Tara. Cruz Bromac is on the third line of betting at $4.50. “The big races are so close together you can’t run in them all,” Purdon said. “Spankem won’t run this week. He needs to run in a qualifier for the Chariots Of Fire, which will be the Paleface Adios (February 9) and it’s asking to much to race this week as well.” Purdon and Rasmussen have the first three in betting in the Aussie TAB’s Chariots of Fire market: Spankem ($3.50), Ashley Locaz ($4) and Chase Auckland ($4.50). All three raced last weekend with Ashley Locaz, who stormed home to win the free-for-all at Menangle, the only winner. Spankem was massive in defeat after sitting parked in slick time and just being edged-out by star Victorian Poster Boy, who had the perfect sit on him, in the Group 1 4YO Bonanza. The win gets Poster Boy automatic entry into the Chariots and he’s an $11 chance. He’s now the best hope for trainer Emma Stewart after she revealed Breeders Crown winner Ride High was sidelined with injury. Chase Auckland remains the most interesting Chariots player. He returned from more than 10 months out through injury with a well-held fourth to Kevin Pizzuto’s Chariots hopeful, Picard, at Menangle last Saturday night. Opinions varied on the run, but Purdon said it was “about what we expected to be honest.” “We’ve done everything we can at home, he just needs the racing now and he’ll come on a lot from the other night,” he said. “He’ll back-up in the Hondo Grattan (a Chariots qualifier) at Menangle this week.” Pizzuto is yet to decide whether Picard will run this week or wait for the Paleface Adios on February 9. “It’s hard when you’ve got big races in different states on the same night like I have with Tiger heading to Melbourne and a couple of key races at Menangle,” he said. Pizzuto will definitely run his star speedster Majordan again at Menangle this week after he galloped at the start and lost all hope in the race won by Ashley Locaz last Saturday night. “He was just too fresh. He’ll be right don’t worry. I’ll run him this week then probably again six days later in the Newcastle Mile. It’s all about having him spot-on for the Miracle Mile,” Pizzuto said. Pizzuto will wait until after the Hunter Cup to finalize Tiger Tara’s path to the Miracle Mile. Despite his amazing deeds this season, the Miracle Mile rules still require Tiger Tara to contest a qualifying race.   Adam Hamilton

IN a shock twist Inter Dominion champion Tiger Tara won’t tackle Saturday night’s $100,000 Group 1 Ballarat Cup. He’s the second big name in the space of just a few hours to pull out of Victoria’s biggest country cup. It follows Cran Dalgety’s decision to skip Ballarat and wait another week for the $100,000 Group 1 4YO Bonanza with Shepparton Cup winner Im Pats Delight. Tiger Tara was a clear prepost favourite for Ballarat before Pizzuto revealed his change of plans. “He’s right where I want him and I don’t want to have to take him down to Melbourne twice or have to leave him there for the time between Ballarat and the Hunter Cup,” he said. “I’ve got lots on at home with Majordan getting ready for the Miracle Mile and Picard for the Chariots Of Fire. I’m not just a one-horse trainer. “He doesn’t need to race at Ballarat. He’s very fit and I can sharpen him at home before the Hunter Cup.” Tiger Tara stepped-out for the first time since his stunning Melbourne Inter Dominion win when he toyed with a moderate field at Menangle last night. Todd McCarthy worked to the front and let Tiger Tara roll for a scorching 1min53.8sec mile rate iver the longer 2300m trip. He closed off in 54.2 and 26.6sec. With Tiger Tara and Im Pats Delight, the All Stars’ trio of Cruz Bromac, Thefixer and Spankem should dominate Ballarat.   Adam Hamilton

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