NSW pacer Tiger Tara is set to tackle his next round of competition on Friday in the Group 1 $200,000 NZ Free-For-All to be raced over 1980 metres at Addington after finishing second to Thefixer in the Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup on Tuesday afternoon.
Tiger Tara packed some punch in the NZ Cup and overcame a bad barrier draw. Sydney reinsman Todd McCarthy was full of confidence in sending Tiger Tara three wide around the field in the early stages to race out in the breeze.
An inside run by Thefixer (Natalie Rasmussen) saw the Aussie stayer Tiger Tara denied the win in the 3200m race by a nose with Dream About Me placed third.
The $800,000 Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup Standing Start saw Thefixer earn $415,685 in prizemoney while Tiger Tara picked up $109,805 with third-placed Dream About Me $54,900.
Tiger Tara will now be the horse to beat in the Melbourne Inter Dominion coming up in December after the massive second placing in the NZ Cup.
“I’m so proud of him,” trainer Kevin Pizzuto said. “The draw beat him, it’s as simple as that. He did all the work, got past the leader and the winner (Thefixer) from a ‘suck’ run to nose him out.”
Tiger Tara’s driver Todd McCarthy spoke of having third-placed Dream About Me racing inbetween Tiger Tara and the winner, Thefixer, in the last 50m.
“He really races the horse alongside him. I think he’d have given that bit more of a kick if he was right alongside the winner.
“As it was, when he saw him, he surged at him again in the last couple of strides.”
It was Tiger Tara’s fifth run in the NZ Cup and the second time he has been the runner-up after finishing second to Lazarus in 2016 and third once again to Lazarus in 2017.
Thefixer gave Mark Purdon his sixth win as a trainer in the cup, the past four – Thefixer (2018), Lazarus (2016-17) and Adore Me (2014) – in partnership with former Queensland reinswoman Natalie Rasmussen of Blacks A Fake fame.
Rasmussen was only the second female to drive a NZ Cup winner, following Australia’s Kerryn Manning on Arden Rooney in 2015.
Interesting to read the steward’s report after the big feature race with Mark Purdon (Jess Duke) charged with careless driving and copping 14 days; Natalie Rasmussen (The Fixer) used the whip on more occasions than permitted - 14 days suspension and $2500 fine. R. Todd (Splash Cole) failed to affix gear – $1000 fine. Todd McCarthy (Tiger Tara) used whip on more occasions than permitted - $1000 fine.
FRIDAY night will see another top contingent of north-west pacers head to the Newcastle meeting. The Dean Chapple stables are looking to gain entry to a $20,000 Menangle final with last start winner at Newcastle on October 26 with a MR of 2.01.1 for 2030m in Apollon while stablemate Kudos Bert, resuming from a spell, is also looking for a shot at Menangle.
Danny Mackney is also contesting the Menangle heat with Pure Laughter after the mare’s last start win at Newcastle on November 3 with a MR of 1.56.1 for 1609m. Stablemate Who Killed Kenny will also look for a run in a later event.
Tamworth trainer Sarah Rushbrook also has Aces First engaged while the Greg Coney-trained Warner will also contest the meeting.