Day At The Track

Auckland Reactor is back - NZ record 1:52.9

04:33 AM 12 Feb 2011 NZDT
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Auckland Reactor and Nathan Purdon Auckland Reactor's winning connections Auckland Reactor Auckland Reactor Auckland Reactor
Auckland Reactor and Nathan Purdon
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Auckland Reactor's winning connections
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Auckland Reactor - Winning in 1:52.9; last 400: 25.5
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Auckland Reactor - and Mark Purdon.
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Auckland Reactor - Jubilant return to the winner's circle
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'Tell the doubters to have a look at the video.' That was the comment from Auckland Reactor's newest harness racing owners Anthony Klonaris and Guy Vitale who flew in from Sydney to watch their new pride and joy thrash a quality Magic Mile field at Ashburton today (Saturday February 12).

Klonaris and Vitale are shareholders in the new look Auckland Reactor Syndicate and they didn’t mix their words when assessing Auckland Reactor’s 1:52.9 mile win. In fact long before the race they had words for the champion’s knockers.

“To all you people who have knocked the horse or don’t want anything to do with him you are all short-sighted. He is a champion and he will win today. And I’m about to put my money (thousands) where my mouth is,” Vitale told Harnesslink an hour before today’s $15,000 feature pace.

Then immediately after his 25th win from 28 starts in New Zealand, Vitale had the following to say:

“When John Curtin asked me if I would be interested in gathering a group of owners he just asked me to google ‘Auckland Reactor’. I did that and couldn’t believe all the negativity they were saying about him.

“I know a good horse when I see one and not many horses win 17 in a row. He was sick when he raced in ‘cowboy land’ (United States) and when I saw him today he just looked like the champion I had been reading about.

“He was no risk business deal. He cried out to be bought. I’m Australian and I’m proud of him. We will bring a bigger crowd back to watch him win the Auckland Cup and Interdominions here next month. I can’t wait. Bring it on!” Vitale said.

Auckland Reactor, who was having his first start since June last year when finishing down the track in Pennsylvania, drew seven of seven and sat parked at the bell before trailing Franco Jamar at the 1200. Then when Mark Purdon surged the 6-year-old son of Mach Three to the lead at the 1100m the race was for second.

At the finish line he had 2-1/4 lengths and 1-1/2 lengths to spare over place-getters Raglan (Anthony Butt) and Franco Jamar (Craig Thornley). New Zealand Cup winner Monkey King and Ricky May were 2-3/4 lengths back in third.

‘The Reactor’ was a warm $1.80 favourite after impressive Ashburton and Motukarara Trial wins in January and February. Today he paced his final 800m and 400m in 54.9 and 25.5 seconds.

And Purdon, who co-trains Auckland Reactor with Grant Payne at Rolleston said his champion was far from ‘tight’ despite finishing just 0.8 of a second outside Kiwi Ingenuity’s New Zealand record set on the track two years ago.

In winning today's race Auckland Reactor became the fastest ever colt and or gelding in New Zealand beating his own record of 1:53.5. That was just the ammunition is Australian owners needed.

“This is a big relief but he’s still got a lot of improving in him yet. He blew a bit and he will be better for the run next time. He will definitely start in the Auckland Cup next month,” Purdon said.

“I couldn’t be happier with his run,” he added.

And his Australian part-owners said they would follow their hero wherever he went.

“Wherever he goes we will go. We’d love to see him line up and smash them in our Miracle Mile back home in Sydney. That would be the icing on the cake,” Vitale said.

Klonaris insisted the investment was always a wise one.

“We have huge respect for John (Curtin). He never pushed us into the sale. He just asked us to do our homework before dipping into our pockets. This was not a gamble and to all the knockers out there, we hope you are all eating humble pie!”

“I love that horse. You only have to look at him to see how relaxed he is. He even looks like a champion,” he added.

By Duane RANGER (editor)

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