Unruly behaviour cost Texas Tiger dearly as a young horse in New Zealand where he managed just two dazzling victories from 20 starts.
But the four-year-old gelding, who arrived in Western Australia just over five weeks ago, has matured into a highly-promising pacer who looks set to notch his fourth win from four starts in the State in the space of 19 days when he contests the opening event, the 2130m Australian Pacing Gold Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Texas Tiger, trained by Gary Hall Snr and to be driven by Gary Hall Jnr, will be making his Gloucester Park debut after two strong victories at Pinjarra and one at Bunbury when he worked hard in the breeze in all three events.
He made a tremendous impression at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when he started from the back line, raced without cover and went on to win by more than five lengths from Rakarover when he smashed the track 1684m record with a sizzling rate of 1.51.7.
The previous record rate of 1.53 was shared by Hall-trained pacers Famous Alchemist and Northview Punter.
“Texas Tiger is a really nice horse, and his record run was helped by the early war in front (when the opening quarters of the final mile were covered in 26.8sec. and 27.1sec.),” said Hall Jnr.
“He is pretty versatile and can do it all. He’s done it up there on the speed and coming from behind. Even though he is starting from the outside of the back line I think he will just win again.”
Champion reinsman Chris Lewis is looking forward to former Victorian performer Mirragon starting from the No. 1 barrier in the APG Graduates Pace.
Mirragon, prepared by Debra Lewis, drops considerably in class after finishing tenth behind Wildwest in the Group 2 Governor’s Cup last Friday night when he started out wide at barrier eight and raced at the rear.
“The race wasn’t run to suit and he was pushed wide in the back straight and wide around the final bend,” said Lewis. “I think he gets his chance to break through at his third start at Gloucester Park.”
Lewis also has sound prospects of winning with the Ross Olivieri-trained Kiwi Bloke, who will start from the 20m mark in the 2503m APG Perth Online Guide Handicap.
The New Zealand-bred seven-year-old is in top form, making most of the running and winning comfortably at his past two starts. “The task doesn’t get any easier, but he is in form,” said Lewis. “He doesn’t have to lead; he can sprint.”
Kiwi Bloke’s chief rival looms as the Aiden de Campo-trained mare Delightfulreaction, who will start from the inside of the 10m line. “This is a good draw and she loves stands over 2503m, and she should be right into it,” said de Campo.
By Ken Casellas