LIGHTLY raced galloper Tigerland broke through for the biggest win of his short career in the $80,000 Wangaratta Cup yesterday.
Ridden by Damian Lane, Tigerland ($2.10-fav) overcame a tardy start to scorch home in the final 75-metres and overhaul Daybreak ($8) by a head.
In a thrilling finish, Wodonga Cup runner-up Grand Sai Wan ($7) was a short-head further back in third.
Trained at Mornington by Matt Laurie, Tigerland was stepping up to the mile second-up, after running third to Mandala at Flemington when resuming last month.
Laurie admitted to some anxious moments after Tigerland bungled the start.
“As soon as he jumped I thought, ‘You’re a bastard for doing that,’ because he’s done that several times before,” Laurie said.
“But he’s got a lot of ability and he’s a real trier, so all was not lost.”
Tigerland was unraced as a two and three-year-old but won five of seven races in his first preparation last year.
The five-year-old has now won six of his nine career starts and almost $180,000 in prizemoney.
Lane said he didn’t panic after missing the start and just let Tigerland find his rhythm before pushing out on the home turn.
“I always felt like I was the winner, it was just a matter of timing and he did the rest,” he said.
The Brian Cox-trained Bringenbrong was the best performed local, finishing fifth in the nine-horse field with Craig Newitt aboard.
Jockey Luke Currie claimed the riding honours with a double aboard the Peter Smith-trained Play Master and the Chris Calthorpe-trained The Shank.