The indomitable Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen yard cost Tiger Tara a New Zealand Cup dream a month ago and again seems the biggest danger to the New South Wales star securing further Group 1 success.
Spankem and Cruz Bromac both won TAB Inter Dominion Round 3 heats at Cranbourne on Saturday night — Cruz Bromac is undefeated this series — and they head the betting charts.
Tiger Tara also won his third-round heat and, despite going into ID18 as the top-ranked horse, he’s slipped to the third line of betting at $5.
“It’s going to come down to the draw, but I just have to say a few prayers and hope for a good alley,” Tiger Tara’s winning driver Todd McCarthy said.
The Kevin Pizzuto-trained Tiger did the lion’s share of the work in the New Zealand Cup, covering plenty of ground in the run before All Stars gun Thefixer bloused him along the sprint lane.
His connections will be desperate for redemption in the Inter Dominion.
“He’s very tough. The distance is going to play into his hands,” McCarthy said. ”One thing’s for sure, he’s going to do his best for us.”
Rasmussen had loads of praise for four-year-old Spankem.
“He is just loving the trip,” the winning driver said.
“That bit of one-on-one with him … he thinks he’s a big boy now. He’s just loving it.”
Meanwhile, there’s no such thing as a fait accompli in an Inter Dominion series but Tornado Valley is pretty close to it.
The Andy Gath-trained star easily prevailed in his third-round ID18 heat last night with Kate Gath in the sulky. Even Tornado Valley’s bandages coming undone at the top of the home straight couldn’t bring the champ undone.
Ever the professional, the favourite didn’t flinch and won by 6.3m over Save Our Pennys.
“If he draws poorly it will make things a hell of a lot harder, but he is versatile so it’s not the end of the world,” Kate Gath said when asked about Tornado Valley’s Grand Final chances.
Kiwi champ Speeding Spur won the other trotting heat for John and Josh Dickie.
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