Day At The Track

A star is born

10:07 AM 01 Jan 2019 NZDT
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Turn It Up,Harness racing
Turn It Up winning the Auckland Cup
Ashlea Brennan photo

Boom pacer Turn It Up only solidified his place as the most exciting pacer in the southern hemisphere following his clinical yet dominant victory in the Gr.1 $250,000 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup at Alexandra Park tonight (Monday).

Facing the starter for only the 9th time in his career, the Courage Under Fire gelding was confidently backed to win the 3200m stand-start feature and safely held Star Galleria and Ashley Locaz to claim his maiden feature.

But it looks the first of many more to come.

And he’s another star off the production line of All Stars – Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen.

The victory provided the Purdon family with their 15th Auckland Cup, the premier pacing event in the North Island.

It’s also the fourth straight success for the All Stars following on from Vincent, Dream About Me and Have Faith In Me in the previous years.

Overall, Mark Purdon has been directly involved with seven (7) Cup winners – Turn It Up, Vincent, Dream About Me, Have Faith In Me, Auckland Reactor, Young Rufus plus his inaugural winner Sharp And Telford.

The All Stars stable had the bulk of the runners in this year’s version with five runners engaged in the 12 horse field, they managed to finish 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 6th plus a failed to finish.

But the focus is clearly on the winner; the four-year-old oozes class coupled with great staying prowess and looks a certain future star of the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit.

A last start winner of the Franklin Cup, Purdon got him away safely and made his early move to find the lead with approximately 2400m left to run while Dream About Me sat behind him followed by Jacks Legend.

The lead time was covered in 2:04.5.

Star Galleria made an early move and raced outside Turn It Up with 1400m left to run before he gained cover on the back of Ashley Locaz as the field swung into the home straight to reach the judge and the bell.

The first half of the final mile was posted in 31.5 and 32.6 seconds.

Those sectionals spelt disaster for his rivals and Purdon allowed him to stride freely down the back straight while his rivals attempted to make a race of it with him.

The third split was timed in 28.2 seconds.

In the straight, Turn It Up safely held Star Galleria and Ashley Locaz who chased determinedly.

The final section was covered in a spine tingling 26.1 seconds.

And the winning time was 4:03.0 – a mile rate of 2:02.1 – well outside of the race record held by Dream About Me (2016) at 3:55.4.

“He’s an exciting horse and we’ve always held him in high regard, I was confident he would handle this way of going and he hasn’t disappointed.” Mark Purdon said.

When assessing the achievement of Turn It Up, Mainland Banner quickly springs to mind when she won the 2005 New Zealand Cup at her 12th race start….it’s truly extraordinary!

Looking ahead, connections have so many options to consider including the upcoming Victorian summer carnival features, Chariots of Fire, Taylor Mile & Messenger in Auckland, Jewels and the Vicbred series among others.

The next leg of the 2018/19 APG Grand Circuit heads to Perth for the running of the $450,000 WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park on January 18.


Chris Barsby

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