Day At The Track

'The Reactor' brilliant in racetrack return

08:22 AM 26 Jan 2011 NZDT
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Auckland Reactor and Mark Purdon return Auckland Reactor, the winner of 25 of
Auckland Reactor and Mark Purdon return - to the winner's enclosure at Ashburton today (Jan. 26, 2011)
Steve Dolan photo
Auckland Reactor, the winner of 25 of - his 34 starts and $1.48m.
Duane Ranger photo

The smile on the face of harness racing horseman Mark Purdon said it all following a dazzling retun to the public arena by superstar pacer Auckland Reactor. The 6-year-old entire sprinted sharpely at the finish to win the C2 And Faster Mobile Pace at the Mid Canterbury TOA Trials held at Ashburton Raceway today (Wednesday January 26).

The son of Mach Three returned to the care of leading trainers Mark Purdon and Grant Payne following an ill-fated trip to North America, the brilliant pacer running into a multitude of complications, his last start resulting in an unsatisfactory seventh back in June 2010.

Co-trainer Mark Purdon was back in the sulky behind Auckland Reactor today and quickly eased him off the arm early before settling last of the six runners. The pair were able to grab a cart into the race behind Alchemy but were still last turning for home. At the 200 Auckland Reactor had plenty of ground to make up, but all it took was a rub of rein over the rump to set Auckland Reactor into full flight as he strode past his rivals with consumate ease.

Auckland Reactor had a neck to spare over the Tim Butt trained Exposed while the stablemate of the winner Collectable, was only a nose away in third. The overall time was a casual 3.04.9, but the final sectionals were sharp with the leaders sprinting home the last 800 in 55.8 and 400 in 27.

Auckland Reactor was timed to run his splits in a sensational 53.9 and 25.4, but more importantly was the glowing report given by co-trainer and driver Mark Purdon that carried a most valuable seal of approval. " He felt as good as he ever has," said Purdon.

"We've done alot of solid foundation work but haven't really extended him fully at home, so today was going to be a good indicator as to where he's at. He's better than what I thought he would be."

Considered the best in the business Mark Purdon still felt a tad aprehensive with his expectations leading into today.

"I had my concerns but certainly don't have any now. At the top of the straight I thought he could run on nicely for third, but when I pulled the plugs he went up a gear and when I gave him a rub over the rump with the reins he changed into overdrive,he's a great horse really."

Purdon is looking to put the final polish on Auckland Reactor with visit to Motukarara Trials next Wednesday, his first race-day start likely to be a mile race at Ashburton on February 12. Auckland Reactor's record stands at 34 starts for 25 wins and two minor placings, with stake earnings of close to $1.5 million.

A large crowd turned out to watch the Trials today - many with one purpose - to watch the six-time New Zealand record holder return to racing after finishing seventh of seven at Harrah's Chester in Pennsylvania on June 13 last year.

Ashburton Trials Results

Steve DOLAN

The Harness Racing New Zealand Version:

Is Auckland Reactor back? Trial win a good start!At the Ashburton trials today (Wednesday January 26) Auckland Reactor made his first public appearance since his disastrous American campaign of last year.‘The Reactor' drew a solid heat but there was nothing in his class on paper and so it proved in the final wash up.

Auckland Reactor set hearts fluttering a little early with a mischievous gallop in the score up. He didn't lose too much ground and caught the field up to be only a length or so back at dispatch.

The slow start allowed Mark Purdon to slot Auckland Reactor to the rear of the field and that's where he stayed until the home turn. Strathcullen led the heat in Indian-file and that's how it stayed until Alchemy made a move off the back straight - Auckland Reactor made a bigger move though.

From last he scorched down the middle of the Ashburton track to pick up Exposed by a neck. Third home was Motukarara mistake maker of last week Mullingar Mac.The official time was 3.04.9 for the mobile 2400m.

The final sections of 55.8 and 27.0 making for a solid hit out. ‘The Reactor' though was privately timed to run his final 800m in a sharp 53.9.

These sorts of sections are nothing new to the former champ but at least the trial shows the old spring is definitely still in his step and he's ready for the next phase of his Inter Dominion preparation.Auckland Reactor is now earmarked for a trial at Motukarara next Wednesday before a resuming run at Ashburton in their specially programmed mile on February 12.

Brooke HENDERSON

 

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