Geoff Dunn is taking a step back to reassess things with his star pacer Tiger Tara.
The New Zealand Free-For-All winner last season was disappointing by his usually high standards when he finished fifth in the New Brighton Cup two weeks ago and Dunn has elected to miss this week’s Canterbury Classic to take stock of the situation.
“We’re just going to lighten up on him a bit.” Dunn said.
“I wasn’t completely happy with his run last time and we’ve had a few things checked out but there’s nothing serious there so we are going to freshen him up and look to Ashburton.
“I don’t think we will look at the Methven Cup because he would be off a 30 metre handicap, but we will make a firm decision by the end of the week.”
A $13 shot when the first market for the Cup was opened back in July, the dour pacer has drifted to an $18 quote – largely thanks to the enhanced claims of some of his more fancied rivals.
Many of those rivals will head to Addington on Friday night for the Group Two Canterbury Classic where nine runners are in the initial nominations.
New Brighton Cup winner Franco Nelson is back to continue his stand out start to the Cup build up while heavy hitters; Christen Me, Lazarus, Have Faith In Me and Smolda are also returning after kicking off their campaigns a fortnight ago.
The latter three, from the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen stable, will all be expected to produce more rounded performances this week after relatively quiet assignments in the New Brighton Cup.
They are joined in the nominations by Locharburn, Quick As A Trick, Mossdale Conner and the fresh up Mighty Flying Mac.
The trotters’ will also be on stage at Addington on Friday night for the Group Three Canterbury Park Trotting Cup.
Won by some of the great names of trotting over the years, including the likes of Lyell Creek, I Can Doosit, Sundon and Take A Moment, the race is a key lead up to the Dominion Handicap.
It will be a big night for Sheree Tomlinson who after driving her 15th winner last week is no eligible to drive the impressive Amaretto Sun in the race as they look to back up their Ordeal Cup win of a few weeks ago.
Sheemon, One Over Da Moon and Sunny Ruby are also leading contenders while Greg Hope, who won Sunday’s DG Jones Banks Peninsula Trotting Cup with Harrysul, is expecting a good performance from Quite A Moment.
Runner-up to Speeding Spur in last season’s Great Southern Star the mare has come back in fine fettle.
“She’s working up really good and could surprise a few people with how well she goes this week,” Hope said.
In the North Island former Kiwi trainer, Brent Lilley will begin his Dominion campaign when Kyvalley Blur makes his New Zealand debut. The winner of 19 races and more than $350,000 is expected to be one of small team of horses Lilley will race in New Zealand over the spring