Mount Moriac trainer Kevin Ward still remembers the day he got the call asking if he was interested in any of a litter by Shima Bar out of Nova Heart that had just been broken-in but were considered “not up to scratch”.
He took four of the litter as giveaways, also still remembering the day he headed to Geelong with one of the brindle dogs – later to race as Tiger Time – for his first trial after having been broken-in.
“He didn’t go a yard,” Ward recalled on Thursday at Tara Raceway after having trained a running treble with Ice Cream Lady, Josie’s Call and Don’s Scolari.
“So I gave him a bit of bullring work, then took him to Ballarat where he trialled very quickly before kicking off his racing career in May last year.”
And it’s been an eventful time for Ward and Tiger Time, the November 2018 whelping boasting some quick times among his 13 wins from 37 starts which have netted more than $32,000 in stakemoney.
In fact, such was his form that several months ago Ward received an offer of $100,000 for Tiger Time.
“I knocked the offer back,” he said. “I’m having plenty of fun with him and sometimes it’s not always about the money. Besides, that amount of money wouldn’t really change my life all that much.”
Tiger Time lined up as an odds-on favourite from box eight in heat two of last Sunday’s Commercial Hotel Mount Gambier Cup (512 metres), his last win having come in March at Horsham in a Free For All over 410 metres.
And when he took over the running down the back from Numinous and Renewed he looked set to ensure a place in the final. However, former WA chaser Renewed finished powerfully along the rails in the home straight to grab a 1¼ lengths win in 29.72 seconds for Two Wells trainer Bec Romyn.
But, after the six heats had been decided and the box draw conducted, Tiger Time was into the final – from box eight again – on the strength of being one of the two fastest seconds. However, as far as the final was concerned, Ward wasn’t getting too excited.
“Look, he’s well drawn in box eight but to be honest I still don’t believe that he’s reached his full potential. While he’s certainly going to need luck in running it’s great to reach the final at the track where I do so much racing.”
Last Sunday turned out to be a good day for Ward. Another member of that litter of four, Tiger’s Twenty, brought up his eighth win and $17,000 in stakemoney when successful at Sandown Park over 515 metres in 29.87 seconds.
Meanwhile, Killarney trainer Kevin Mugavin will be looking to go one better in the Produce Store Feature Maiden final (512 m) when Awesome Value lines up in box five in tomorrow’s final.
It’s now two years ago that Mugavin won a heat of the feature maiden with Spring Value in 30.06 seconds before finishing second to Galactic Titan in the final.
Having his second race start, the son of Fernando Bale x Cloona Lass took the lead from first starter Paradise Five down the back straight before hanging on in the run home to win by a half-length in 30.31 seconds.
Speaking after the race, Mugavin said he had been happy enough with Awesome Value’s effort.
“What I do like about the litter is that it chases and tries,” he said. “And as far as Sunday’s final is concerned, I reckon he should improve a bit.”
The final looks to be a two-dog race with the David Peckham trained Paradise Five, another of the Worm Burner x Thanks Tubby litter, having drawn box one in the final and not losing too many friends when finishing strongly in last week’s heat.
Saint Eilish, after five consecutive minor placings, finally broke through for her first win for Glencoe trainer Dean Fennell when finishing too strongly for Zoie Magic and Pay The Rent in a much slower 30.98 seconds.