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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.”