You have to marvel at Tiger Tara. You just have to.
His toughness, consistency and genuine brilliance is up there with most who have ever graced the track.
Have there been some better ? Sure, he’s not even the best of his era but few have been as gritty and gutsy as this eight-year-old son of Bettors Delight.
His 2018 Inter Dominion victory was vintage Tiger Tara, with reinsman Todd McCarthy executing a marvellous drive to break the hearts of those in pursuit.
Coming off the arm strongly, Tiger Tara benefited from a galloping Galactic Star as Mach Doro tamely handed over the lead. A lead which he never came close to relinquishing.
San Carlo made multiple moves to get outside him, whilst popular horses Im Pats Delight, Cruz Bromac and Spankem all had seemingly attractive positions in transit.
However, when McCarthy escaped with an opening stanza of 30.1 seconds, the Tiger was always going to be incredibly hard to track down.
From there, McCarthy let him run and those chasing never had a shot. No horse ever looked like looming into the race as the iron-horse exploded in a 26.3 third quarter, romping away with a 14-metre victory.
It was reminiscent of Lazarus – the horse Tiger Tara had so often been upended by – in his stunning New Zealand Cups win and his 2017 Inter Dominion triumph.
Those in behind all seemed average.
Our Uncle Sam was the run of the race outside the winner whilst Cruz Bromac, Spankem and Im Pats Delight were only fair. Galactic Star’s connections will be rueing his early mishap as he motored home into sixth.
But all honours reside with Tiger Tara, trainer Kevin Pizzuto and pilot Todd McCarthy. He’s a horse who has been written off more than once and on Saturday night, he claimed his place in history.
In the trotting division, Tornado Valley completed his clean sweep of the series with a front-running victory over a humungous Sky Petite who made a sweeping three-wide run 800m from home. The mare produced a career-best run but Tornado Valley was comfortably the best performed horse in the trotting division and will be a dominant favourite in almost everything he contests for the foreseeable future.
ID18 was capped off with a magnificent night at Tabcorp Park Melton. The crowd was healthy and everyone was enjoying having the Inters back in Victoria after a decade-long absence.
Rob Mills and Dale Ryder performed and wooed the crowd, Darren Weir showed his support to the industry by coming along and HRV showcased all the great things about Victorian Harness Racing.
There’s an Auckland Cup, a Fremantle and WA Cup, Hunter Cup, Miracle Mile and numerous Group 1’s for the age-restricted horses but the countdown is already on for ID19 at Alexandra Park in Auckland.