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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

In a surprise twist, a planned Perth raid has been scrapped from Inter Dominion champion Tiger Tara. Trainer Kevin Pizzuto, who just a week earlier had confirmed the trip, pulled the pin yesterday (Thursday). “In the end, I’ve put the horse first,” Pizzuto said. “I know I said he was going and I was keen to, but I had some time to think everything through during the week after Christmas. “What made me re-think it all was the stinking hot weather had up here. It’s flattened most horses and must have taken something out of him as well. “To ask him to go the long trip to Perth, after he’s already been to NZ and had two trips down to Melbourne this season, was asking to much when I really thought it through. “Travel is hard on horses, especially when it’s hot this time of year. I’d hate to flatten him with a trip to Perth after I’ve worked so hard to get him the best I’ve ever had him.” WA’s loss is Victoria’s gain, with Pizzuto confirming the revised schedule will see Tiger Tara’s next major target – and probably next race – be the $100,000 Group 1 Ballarat Cup on January 19. Then comes the $500,000 Hunter Cup at Melton two week’s later. “He’s very fit. I know it’ll be five weeks between runs when he goes to Ballarat, but he won’t need a race. I can trial him, even give him two trials if needed,” Pizzuto said. “I know the Perth people wanted to see him, but I’m sure I’ve made the right decision by the horse now. “He can go to those two races in Victoria then come back home where I’ve got the Newcastle Mile or one of the Miracle Mile lead-up races ahead of the Miracle Mile itself. “The Miracle Mile isn’t the most suitable race for him because he’s a real stayer, but if I change-up his training I think I can get some more speed into him. “I’ve already got Majordan I’m setting for the Miracle Mile as well. I’d say he’ll go to the Newcastle Mile.” With Tiger Tara out of the Fremantle (January 11) and WA Pacing Cups (January 18), reigning Miracle Mile winner My Field Marshal has assumed dominant favouritism for both races after his easy Gloucester Park win last Friday night. Best of the locals appear to be dual Inter Dominion finalist Galactic Star, his emerging stablemate Vampiro and exciting four-year-olds like Ana Malak and Mighty Conqueror. Adam Hamilton

Last year’s Inter Dominion winner Tiger Tara is on track for this month’s Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups at Gloucester Park, according to trainer Kevin Pizzuto. Tiger Tara blew his rivals away in the Inter Dominion at Melton on December 15 and stamped himself as the one to beat for the Perth features. Pizzuto said Tiger Tara, who also finished second in the New Zealand Cup last November, had been on light duties following his Inter Dominion success. “He had a week off, but he track worked well this morning,” he told TABradio. “I’ll be coming to Perth on Tuesday or Wednesday night, I’ll just have to see what the flights are.” Pizzuto brought Tiger Tara to Perth for the 2017 Inter Dominion series. The eight-year-old won a heat of that series at Bunbury, while was placed in the other two heats at Gloucester Park, before finishing second to Lazarus in the final. Pizzuto said Tiger Tara would need to be every bit as good to win the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups as he was in the past two Inter Dominions. “He’s about the same now as he was (in the Inter Dominion),” he said. “He’s just got to be good on the day. “I hope it’s good competition and I think it will be.” Tiger Tara will join fellow east coast visitor My Field Marshal, pictured above, in Perth, who blew his rivals away in last Friday night’s Group 2 Village Kid Pace at Gloucester Park. Pizzuto said he had great respect for My Field Marshal, who beat Tiger Tara in their most recent clash in last year’s Miracle Mile. Following My Field Marshal’s win on Friday night, trainer Tim Butt said he wasn’t deterred by the Inter Dominion winner’s presence in Perth. “Field Marshal has got a good record against Tiger Tara,” he said. “We’re not too worried about him coming. “It all comes down to the draw and who’s right on the night.” Meanwhile, a number of local hopefuls for the upcoming Cups will be out to strengthen their claims for a spot in the feature events in this Friday night’s Free-For-All. Mitch Maguire, Runrunjimmydunn, Natural Disaster, Im Full Of Excuses, Vultan Tin and Mr Mojito are all in the mix to run in the Free-For-All after last week’s Village Kid. The runner-up from last week’s feature Our Max Phactor has been nominated for this week’s Standing Start event. Final acceptances for the meeting will be taken later this afternoon.   Tim Walker

INTER Dominion-winning trainer Kevin Pizzuto thinks he can win the first $1 million Miracle Mile. But it’s not with Tiger Tara, who gave him the biggest win of his career last Saturday in the Inter Dominion final at Melton. Pizzuto is priming one of Australia’s fastest pacers, Majordan, for the newly boosted $1 million Ainsworth Miracle Mile – up from $750,000 last year – at Menangle on March 2. “I’m sure he can go at least at 1min47sec,” Pizzuto said. “He’s a genuine speedster and that’s his focus. “We left him at home instead of going to the Inter Dominion so we could keep him to mile racing.” Majordan has won eight of his 14 starts since being bought by US-based owners Marc Hanover and Gordon Banks. Two of those wins have been in 1min49.3sec and his career-best 1min49.2sec miles at Menangle. “He’s had a couple of weeks off since he made it three wins on end (December 8, Menangle) and will be back racing towards the end of January,” Pizzuto said. A logical target is another boosted race, the $100,000 Group 1 Newcastle Mile on February 8, where the winner is guaranteed a spot in the Miracle Mile. Majordan’s one Newcastle start saw him smash the track record winning the Group 3 Ross Gigg Mile in a 1min51.4sec mile back on May 26, this year. Pizzuto revealed Tiger Tara may not even chase the Miracle Mile. “He can’t go in everything and the sprint races don’t suit him as much, he’s a stayer,” he said. “If we go to Perth for their big races, which is looking likely, and back for the Hunter Cup in Melbourne then I’ll probably give him a break after that.” Meanwhile, reigning Miracle Mile champ My Field Marshal has settled well in Perth since arriving in the early hours of Thursday morning. Trainer Tim Butt confirmed My Field Marshal would open his Perth raid in the $50,000 Group 2 Village Kid Pace (1730m) at Gloucester Park next Friday night (December 28). Then comes the $300,000 Group 1 Fremantle Cup on January 11 and the $450,000 Group 1 WA Pacing Cup a week later.   Adam Hamilton

Sydneysiders will have the opportunity to celebrate all of the harness racing action and excitement of Tiger Tara's unforgettable win in the $500,000 Group 1 Interdominion Grand Final Pacing Championship at his home track, Sydney's Bankstown Paceway, this coming Friday, December 21st, 2018.   "All of Sydney is keen to salute this amazing win by our locally trained eight-year-old, by Bettors Delight USA out of Tara Gold NZ, who is trained right here at Bankstown Paceway by Kevin Pizzuto, and whose ID effort will now forever be enshired in the annals of history," Bankstown Paceway vice president David Rosen told Harnesslink from Melbourne's Melton Park.   "Owned by the Hawli and Pizzuto families, and driven to his easy and unforgettable Melton win by Todd McCarthy, the winner of Bankstown's 2017 Schweppes Sydney Cup now boasts an impressive $1.9 million in career prizemoney," Mr Rosen said.   "So, back home in Sydney, locals can celebrate Tiger's incredable win at Bankstown Paceway's Family Christmas Race Night this coming Friday, December 21st, 2018 - with Bankstown's Food Night Markets open from 5 pm and the first race scheduled to commence at 7:03 pm," he said. "Friday's big Bankstown race night will also feature free children's activities, face painting and a jumping castle among the many food stalls - and, best of all, entry is free," Mr Rosen added. Megan J. Lavender

INTER Dominion hero Tiger Tara has thrived since his stunning win and is headed to Perth. Trainer Kevin Pizzuto said as long as suitable flights can be locked-in, Tiger Tara will tackle the $300,000 Group 1 Fremantle Cup on January 11 and the $450,000 WA Pacing Cup a week later. Both races are at Gloucester Park. “He’s come through like he hasn’t even had a run,” Pizzuto said. “He’s too well not to go to Perth. Plus the prizemoney is so good and he loves the small track. “As long as I can sort the right flights, and they tell me that should be fine, he’ll go there.” Miracle Mile winner My Field Marshal is another headed to Perth after a stunning return to racing with a win at Menangle yesterday (Monday). My Field Marshal drew wide, worked hard early, grabbed a midrace trail then gunned-down heavily-backed stablemate Raukapuka Ruler to win running away by 2.3m in a 1min50.9sec mile. He was timed to run a 53.8sec last half. “This is the best preparation he’s had for a long time. He always seemed to have it under control today, either when our horse kicked away with a big lead. He gathered him in quickly,” Butt said. Yesterday’s race was transferred from last Saturday night when the Menangle meeting was washed-out. “It’s turned out perfectly really. He now heads to Melbourne, has a day in a yard down there and flies out to Perth on Wednesday night,” Butt said. “I was keen to get him there for a lead-up race and he’ll have that in the sprint at Gloucester Park on December 28.” Butt’s other stable star, Let It Ride, will stay in Victoria for his lead-up racing towards the Hunter Cup on February 2. “I just think he needed the run when he was beaten the other night (second to Conviction in a free-for-all at Melton last Saturday),” Butt said. “There’s lot of good options for him in Victoria. He can have four runs close together, then a week’s break and into the Ballarat then Hunter Cups.” Adam Hamilton

Tiger Tara’s TAB Inter Dominion Pacing Championship win at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night capped an extraordinary year for harness racing trainer Kevin Pizzuto and his family. In August the New South Wales horseman was involved in a serious road accident, which could have cost him and his horses their lives. Aboard the float that day were Tiger Tara and three stablemates, with Pizzuto in the driver’s seat. Another driver ran through a stop sign and a collision was unavoidable. The resultant impact fractured the horseman’s sternum and ribs, tore his ligaments in both arms as the steering wheel shattered in two, and left him with hidden scars every time he thought of taking the road again. But bloodied and broken that day, Pizzuto’s thoughts were only on his horses. “My driver came and got the horses which I’d gotten off the float … and then I went to hospital,” Pizzuto said. “He (Tiger Tara) was lying down up the front of the float and I thought he’d broken his back. I was shattered. I had blood coming out everywhere, but when he got up, my heart, yeah ... just relief.” Two months after the accident Tiger Tara pummelled his rivals in the Group 1 Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup. Then, in November he produced one of the gutsiest runner-up efforts in modern times when second in the Group 1 New Zealand Cup. “I’ve always said he’s the toughest horse in the land… I knew he was good, but last night, that was something else,” Pizzuto said of the ID18 win. “I’ve had him better than I’ve ever had him, this prep. We’ve had our ups and downs but we’ve pulled ourselves up and that was amazing.” Tiger Tara, with gun reinsman Todd McCarthy aboard, took up the front-running role early in Saturday night’s Grand Circuit decider and went on to break rivals’ hearts off the back with an unforgettable 26.3secs third quarter. The son of Bettors Delight got up the lane in 27.9 to rate 1:53.9 over the 2760m trip, McCarthy’s winning salute encapsulating the glory in a snap. And the final twist, Pizzuto’s daughter Courtney accepted Mikey Hawli’s marriage proposal on track in front of the huge crowd after the victory. Courtney said yes, and so did Kev. “He had to ask me first,” Pizzuto said. “The horses were scoring up... I was praying we’d win after that. He’s a good bloke and a hard worker.” Trots Media - Cody Winnell   Trots Media - Cody Winnell

TIGER ROARS TO VICTORY IN TRACK RECORD TIME Sydneysider Tiger Tara was a brilliant victor of the $500,000 (Group 1) 2018 TAB Inter Dominion Pacing Championship Grand Final over 2760 metres at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night, winning by a 14.4 metre margin in advance of roughie Our Uncle Sam, Cruz  Bromac and Spankem in a mile rate of 1-53.9 which took .2 seconds off Lazarus’ 1-54.9 established last year. Trained to perfection by Kevin Pizzuto at Rossmore, Tiger Tara with regular reinsman Todd McCarthy aboard, began with a wing on every foot from outside the front line to cross outsider Mach Doro (gate four) which had speared past polemarker Galactic Star as the starter released the field. Galactic Star was to gallop on the first turn causing inconvenience to Im Pats Delight (gate three} which allowed Mattie Craven (gate two) to angle to the back of Mach Doro and San Carlo to shift off the inside to park in the open giving Im Pats Delight one/one cover. The highly fancied “All Stars” stablemates Spankem (gate five) and Cruz Bromac (gate two on the second line) settled three and four back in the moving line, with Cruz Bromac momentarily moving three wide before easing back to trail Spankem. Once the speed slackened, Gavin Lang sent Im Pats Delight forward to park in the open, with Bec Bartley shortly after sending San Carlo forward to face the breeze. The order remained the same until the bell when Mark Purdon and Spankem eased three wide to start a forward move, with Natalie Rasmussen (Cruz Bromac) immediately latching to his back for a sweet ride home and Our Uncle Sam  (one/three) trailing the pair. Given full rein prior to the home turn, Tiger Tara bounded away with Spankem and Cruz Bromac giving chase as San Carlo started to give ground with Im Pats Delight again being hampered. Well clear on straightening, Tiger Tara simply toyed with his rivals, with Our Uncle Sam giving Anthony Frisby the “thrill of a lifetime” by running into second place, Cruz Bromac third, Spanken fourth and Im Pats Delight a game fifth after not enjoying any luck at all after copping more cheques than a bank teller. In quarters of 30.1, 28.7, 26.3 and 27.9 for the last mile, Tiger Tara ran his rivals ragged, prompting Kevin Pizzuto who was lost for words to comment after the race how this horse is “unbelievable”. A 8Y0 entire by Bettors Delight from the Dream Away mare Tara Gold, Tiger Tara must have a wonderful constitution after this season being involved in a horrific car accident which tipped the float over threatening his racing career, before travelling to Victoria to claim the Victoria Cup, then heading across the Tasman to finish a nose second in the New Zealand Cup to Thefixer after racing exposed prior to the ID campaign which saw him win one heat with two placings. For Todd McCarthy who has developed into one of Australia’s top reinsmen, the victory gave him without doubt his biggest moment in harness racing. Raced by the Pizzuto family and M. Hawli, Tiger Tara has fronted the starter 99 times for 31 wins and 37 placings for stake earnings in excess of $1,960,000. THE TROTTERS  Most were of the opinion that the 2760 metre $150,000 (Group 1) ID Trotters Grand Final would be taken out by Andy and Kate Gath’s star Kiwi bred 7Y0 Skyvalley-Begin gelding Tornado Valley (gate six) unbeaten through the heats, or John Dickie’s North Islander Speeding Spur due to the fact that he came up with the coveted pole line draw, but it was Tornado Hanover to continue on his winning way. Raced by long time stable client – Queensland developer Norm Jenkin who has raced among others duel New Zealand Cup winner Flashing Red, Tornado Valley began at 100 miles an hour to lead running into the first turn, with Speeding Spur unable to match him settling in the trail. Big Jack Hammer (gate five) in the open and Save Our Pennys (gate three) one/one being trailed by Tough Monarch quickly away from inside the second line and Kyvalley Blur (gate three on the second line). Monty Python (gate two) possied three back the markers with Rompers Monarchy following him. While Sky Petite after starting outside the front line had no option but to go back to the rear of the field. Always travelling well within himself, Tornado Valley never ever looked in any danger, scoring easily by 10 metres from Sky Petite (three wide solo last lap) from the tail which ran the race of her life for Ryan Duffy and Mick Stanley, with Speeding Spur a disappointing third 8.6 metres away. Monty Python was fourth and Save Our Pennys fifth. In quarters of 30.3, 29.5, 29.1 and 28.4 for the last mile, Tornado Valley returned a mile rate of 1-59.5. It was Tornado Valley’s 24th success in 78 outings which include 23 placings for stakes of $412,887. Harness Racing Australia

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