By Tony Megahey
Long-time Quirindi trainer Geoff O’Brien, at 66 years, still rides fast trackwork and he has rising Ti Tan Tiger peaked to complete a winning treble at Monday’s TAB meeting.
The historic Quirindi Jockey Club has drawn capacity acceptances for the nine-race program on a good track rating where the Group-winning regional stables of Kris Lees and Paul Perry are again out in force.
Left: Rachael Murray brings Ti Tan Tiger back after a Quirindi win in February. Image by - Bradley Photographers
Ti Tan Tiger contests the feature, the Les Howard Willow Tree Cup (1450m) where O’Brien has the formidable ally of champion country jockey Greg Ryan. Perry’s Secret Webb and Peggy Cove, will press Ti Tan Tiger for favouritism.
But Ryan’s influence is always dominant in country betting markets when he decides on a mount. And he backs up after riding Ti Tan Tiger for a tenacious win off the extreme outside over 1450m at Muswellbrook recently. This followed an impressive two lengths win at Taree over 1400m.
“It was a real tough win at Muswellbrook; he had to do a lot of work from the wide draw but he just kept giving for Greg - a real game genuine horse,” O’Brien enthused.
“He’s been fantastic this prep, won three from five and runner-up twice. This is a harder race, he’s draw the outside again and Paul Perry has a couple in. But this gelding’s form says he’s up to it again. And he’ll get further.”
Is Ti Tan Tiger ready for a crack in town if his country streak continues on Monday? “We’ll we’d like to think so, he certainly couldn’t do any more, just keeps measuring up to the next level.
“He won easily at Taree and then did it the hard way at Muswellbrook. But like I say, he’s up another level again.”
O’Brien’s stables are adjacent to the Quirindi track where he has eight in work and Ti Tan Tiger was purchased by Central Coast owners: “We’re just a small stable, myself and a couple more retiree mates, and eight is enough when I’m riding trackwork.”