Tiger Tara was an inch away from a New Zealand Cup-Inter Dominion double so it’s safe to say the iron-horse deserves his place atop the power rankings.
From there, she gets a whole lot more confusing.
I sat down a month ago to come up with a top 10 and I had to close the laptop. There simply were not enough healthy horses competing at the top level.
Only My Field Marshal and Tiger Tara remain from the most recent Miracle Mile whilst other stars who did not even compete in that sprint have also fallen by the wayside – Chicago Bull, Have Faith In Me, Heaven Rocks, The Orange Agent, Shadow Sax.
But, a new breed has stepped up. And another crop looks destined to take Grand Circuit racing to a new level.
Four-year-old racing is fast becoming primetime for these equine athletes and we have more than a handful of explosive, talented four-year-olds ready to rock.
When the next list drops, we will have witnessed the Ballarat Cup, WA Cup, Hunter Cup, Chariots Of Fire and Miracle Mile as well as some quality country Victorian Cups.
The next eight weeks are mammoth.
Here is the latest edition of the Unofficial Harness Racing Power Rankings;
1 TIGER TARA – Kevin Pizzuto
This guy produced the third best beaten performance of the past 12 months (1 Lazarus, Fremantle Cup, 2 Soho Tribeca, Miracle Mile) in the NZ Cup. Combine that with a phenomenal ID18 win and he’s a comfortable top seed.
Tough, courageous, determined and consistent. Been there, done that, still doing it – when almost all others cannot.
2 THEFIXER – Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen
Reigning NZ Cup champion. As progressive as they come and en route to Australia for a tilt at the Ballarat Cup, Hunter Cup and potentially Miracle Mile. Only lingering feet issues stand in his way.
3 IM PATS DELIGHT – Cran Dalgety
Despite a couple of nice staying runs, seems a contender for the Chariots of Fire and Miracle Mile. Only four so Cran Dalgety wants to look after him. Not quite ready to do work in Grand Circuit races but he’s on the scene for the foreseeable future.
4 TURN IT UP – Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen
An untapped commodity but you get the feeling he’s special. A dominant Auckland Cup win justified – and raised – the hype. Only nine starts in so All Stars will keep him fresh. There’s a heap of four-year-old features for him in NZ, meaning we may not see him in Oz anytime soon.
5 SPANKEM – Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen
Surprise packet. I’m not certain he’s an open class superstar but he’s currently favourite for the Bonanza and Chariots of Fire. His ID campaign was enormous and he laps up the work. Doubt he ever tops this list but he is probably the most versatile horse in the top 10.
6 DREAM ABOUT ME – Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen
Her brilliant best may be behind her but she’s still competitive in anything she competes in. Her Auckland Cup drop out was an aberration, otherwise she’s been as consistent and honest as they come. Few mares can lead a NZ Cup and still be in the finish.
7 CRUZ BROMAC – Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen
Won the Len Smith Mile but exploded to Grand Circuit prominence with All Stars. Was a dominant NZ FFA winner and was equally good in the Cup when an unlucky fourth. Was killing everything in the ID heats and looms as a real Miracle Mile threat.
8 GALACTIC STAR – Greg & Skye Bond
Never spoken about among the best open age stars but he’s the only horse not named Tiger Tara to win an ID heat in 2017 and 2018. He deserves his shot at another Hunter Cup and a return to Sydney for the Mile.
9 MY FIELD MARSHAL – Tim Butt
He’s being used conservatively but Tim Butt has found a pair of rich Group 1’s where he will be a hefty favourite. I doubt he ever replicates his 1:46.9 mile but he probably never has to.
10 STAR GALLERIA – Steven Reid
Is he back? Was gone for all money around NZ Cup, even the trainer/owner admitted so. His Auckland Cup run was full of merit however, giving Steven Reid enough courage to aim him up at the Australian riches. He has a handful of young guns on his tail.
San Carlo – Can win any Country Cup he’s entered in but unsure whether he will ever pick up a big one.
Rackemup Tigerpie – His win on ID night was stunning and he trumped that in the sprint at Ballarat on Boxing Night. He’s for real.
Let It Ride – Just not going anywhere near well enough to challenge those above him. Wrappers Delight – Harshly dealt with on his ID runs. He will be a top fiver this time next year.
Our Uncle Sam – Announced himself to us southerners in the ID.
Buster Brady – Former Kiwi with big boom. Was a step off them over there so whether he can win a big one here is up for debate.
Be Jack’s Legend – Deserves a start in every big race but doubt he can jag one.
Show us you belong: Ride High, Poster Boy, Ignatius, Colt Thirty One, Chase Auckland, Soho Burning Love.
Not considered: Ultimate Machete, Chicago Bull, Soho Tribeca, Shadow Sax,