Australian harness racing fans...You have been warned! Not only will Follow The Stars be back next season, he will be better, stronger, faster.
Okay, Six Million Dollar Man reference aside, that was the call from New Zealand trainer Mark Purdon, who believes Follow The Stars will improve following a good break.
Having proven himself the Southern Hemisphere’s premier freshman, Follow The Stars is poised for
a stellar campaign as a three-year-old. Not only will he tackle the various majors on the Shaky Isles, he will return across the Tasman for several features such as the Victoria and New South Wales Derbys.
Purdon also plans to be back at Tabcorp Park Melton for the Australasian Breeders’ Crown – a race
Follow The Stars made his own last Sunday. “There is something special about this horse,” Purdon declared. “He has a real X-factor about him. “I would say he is more than up with the best two-year-olds I’ve trained...he is the best. “He will go home and have about eight to 10 weeks off now, then I’ll get him ready for our Derbys at home. “After that he will be back in Australia for the Derbys and the Breeders’ Crown again.”
Purdon’s “he is the best” statement is huge considering the outstanding two-year-olds he has
prepared. Headed by Il Vicolo and Light And Sound, the list includes Fly Like An Eagle, Lennon, Major Mark, Mr Nickel and The Court Owl – all multiple feature race winners.
As for Purdon’s plans, they represent a bleak season for Aussies as Follow The Stars already boasts
an unblemished record from six mainland starts. Furthermore, the latest was the colt’s most impressive. Pushed forward from the outside of the front row, Follow The Stars worked to the lead as his talented stablemate, Kept Under Wraps was eased to take a trail. Never in danger of being beaten, the son of Art Major provided Purdon with an ‘armchair’ drive as he cruised to a soft five-metre win from Kept Under Wraps. My Field Marshall, which was three-wide without cover from the bell, was seven metres away third.
“That was a great run,” Purdon said. “I couldn’t have scripted it any better. “After he got to the front without doing too much work he was never going to be beaten. “He just did it so easy and had plenty in reserve at the finish.” Covering the last half in 55.7 seconds, the two-year-old rated 1:56.7 for the 2240 metres.
Raced by similar connections to Kept Under Wraps, Follow The Stars extended his record to an
impeccable 10 wins from 11 starts for earnings of $455,410.