Inter Dominion champion Tiger Tara is a confirmed starter for the $110,000 PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup.
The New South Wales-trained Tiger Tara will use the group 1 event on Saturday, January 19, to launch his Summer of Glory Carnival campaign.
Trainer Kevin Pizzuto’s decision to run his superstar at Bray Raceway sets up an another appetising clash between Tiger Tara and the might of New Zealand’s All Stars Stable.
Australasia’s premier training partnership of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen are looking to have three runners in Ballarat – NZ Cup winner Thefixer, and Inter Dominion finalists Cruz Bromac and Spankem.
Purdon’s stable already has a remarkable record in the Ballarat Pacing Cup, with Highview Tommy (2012), Smolda (2016 and 2017) and Heaven Rocks (2018) all winners.
Tiger Tara narrowly lost to Thefixer in the NZ Cup, before turning the tables on the All Stars’ Cruz Bromac and Spankem in the Inter Dominion final at Melton last month.
Tiger Tara, which did his early racing in NZ, has raced in Ballarat only once, for a second in an Inter Dominion heat.
He will have a hit out at Menangle on Saturday night before heading south to Victoria.
Thefixer has won six of 11 career starts, but is yet to race in Australia.
The Ballarat Cup meeting opens Victoria’s Summer of Glory, which features the $200,000 Victoria Derby January 26 and $500,000 AG Hunter Cup at Melton on February 2.
Derby heats will be run in Ballarat on cup night.
MEANWHILE, Inter Dominion Trotting Championship final runner-up Sky Petite returns to racing at Shepparton on Saturday night.
Trained by Michael Stanley at Burrumbeet, the Shepparton-owned mare lines up in the in the group 3 $24,000 The George Gath, 2190m.
Ryan Duffy will again take the drive on Sky Petite, which went from last to push Tornado Valley all the way in the Inter Dom final.
CARDIGAN trainer Anton Golino chases in third country trotting cup at Hamilton on Sunday.
He has already taken French-bred mare Destinee Jenilou to victories in the Maryborough and Cobram feature races.
In-form 4yo Majestic Player now get his chance in the Hamilton Trotters’ Cup, 2660m, after a hattrick of wins.
The feature is dominated by Ballarat district-trained runners, including group 1 winner Jerichos Trumpet (trained by Zac Steenhuis at Pootilla), Trottn The Catwalk (Keith Douglas, Smythes Creek), Belts (Damien Burns, Bunkers Hill), Savannah Jay Jay (Stan Cameron, Invermay) and Redal Pepperell (Mick Barby, Daylesford).