Tiger Tara’s New Zealand Trotting Cup raid is bang on target despite a narrow defeat in last night’s A$50,000 Group 2 Cranbourne Cup.

The recent Victoria Cup winner did all the work outside the leader – the emerging San Carlo – and went down by a just half a neck in a blazing 54.8sec last half around a notoriously slow track.

It was a mighty effort given it was Tiger Tara’s fourth start in as many weeks, including his second round trip from Sydney to Melbourne.

And it came the same night he was crowned NSW Horse of the Year.

Now it’s full-stream ahead to the New Zealand Cup.

While most eyes were on Tiger Tara, the top prize went to emerging Victoria pacer San Carlo, who has been specifically set for the Inter Dominion by co-trainers Steve O’Donoghue and Bec Bartley.

San Carlo won a heat of the Perth Inter Dominion last year and despite being an eight-year-old, has been sparingly raced, essentially because he’s been such a slow maturer.

He’s won both runs back from a long spell and 23 of his 35 career runs.

Bartley took the reins on San Carlo and showed intent from the start when she pushed forward to take the lead from speedster Audi Hare then steady the tempo, forcing Todd McCarthy to circle the field to sit parked on Tiger Tara.

They scorched down the back straight in 27sec flat, but as hard as Tiger Tara tried, San Carlo kept answering and staved him off. Another emerging star, Shadow Sax, charged home from near the rear to finish a close third.

It was a fantastic content and showed all three will be major Melbourne Inter Dominion players.