Motor City Tiger was originally transferred from NSW to Victoria to tackle the Launching Pad earlier in the year before that series was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
But while the Launching Pad mission was abandoned, Motor City Tiger remained with astute Pakenham South trainer Geoff Scott-Smith and is set to take a major step in his middle distance emergence in Saturday night’s Restricted Wins Final (600m) at The Meadows.
“He seems to have found his mojo,” said Scott-Smith.
“It was always going to be the plan to step him up.
“He’s hasn’t got a lot of pace early and he’s slow out of the boxes so he needs all the help he can get! But he’s very strong. He ran 29.10s in a trial at Sandown after a slow start.”
A son of record-breaking NSW provincial sprinter Buck Fever, Motor City Tiger is owned and bred by Trent Anderson, who reared Scott-Smith’s former superstar Dundee Osprey, a three-time Group 1 winner.
He made an auspicious debut at The Gardens last December when winning by 20-plus lengths in fast time for champion mentor Jason Mackay.
However, after being beaten at his next two starts Motor City Tiger relocated to Victoria and he’s won three of his last four, including an ultra-impressive middle distance debut in the heats of the 3-6 wins Meadows series.
Motor City Tiger came from last in a barnstorming seven-length victory, clocking 34.54s, the quickest of the three heats, edging out recent Group 2 McKenna Memorial finalist Run Like Jess (34.56s) for qualifying honours.
“When he first came down he wasn’t really going that well,” Scott-Smith explained.
“He won a race at Warragul and pulled up lame and had a couple of months off. Since coming back he’s really started to fire up but with his racing style he’s always going to need some luck.”
After drawing box five, Motor City Tiger is TAB’s $2.70 second elect, shaded for favouritism by Run Like Jess (box 3) at $2.50.
“I think it’s a winnable race, although he’ll be up against a better class of dog in the final, which is to be expected,” Scott-Smith said.
“It just depends on what kind of run he gets but two-out he would probably beat any of them.
“He mightn’t be boxed too badly in the five because the two other heat winners (Run Like Jess and Wonderful World), which both led all-the-way, are in three and four so they might give him a good cart into the race.”