When it comes to juvenile racing - It pays to follow the stars, the All Stars that is.
The potent team were once again to the fore in the Sapling Stakes at Ashburton yesterday, with Mark Purdon and co-owners Phil & Glenys Kennard going back to back in the prestigious two-year-old event after having won the race with Isaiah, who is also by Art Major, last season.
“Last year was our first win in the race, so to go back-to-back is a huge thrill,” said co- owner Glenys Kennard.
Follow The Stars sat back off the hot speed, before coming with an explosive finish to win nicely over Mighty Flying Major, Say My Name, and Pulp Fiction, all of which are sired by Art Major.
Co-owner Phil Kennard was astonished by his colts performance.
“We were told he was only about 85% going into today and he has just run 1-53.8 for a mile.
“If that’s the case I’d hate to see him screwed down.”
“He had a bit of a blow after the race, so I do think there is still improvement in him,” said co-trainer-driver Purdon.
“He will now head north for a heat of the Young Guns next week, before setting his sights on the final, which he has already qualified for through his debut win.”
The Purdon camp was also very pleased with the run of Alta Ronaldo in finishing fifth.
“He and Jay Dubb are both targeting the Kindergarten Stakes,” advised Purdon.
Follow The Stars continues the unbelievable success that Purdon, Rasmussen and the Kennards have had through buying out of the APG Sale in Australia.
“We have just bought a few more from the APG Sale at Melbourne last week, so hopefully they can also do a job.”
If the success of Smolda, Border Control, and Fly Like An Eagle is anything to go by, I’m sure they will.
The other Ashburton feature, the Hambletonian Classic for three-year-old trotters, was taken out in impressive style by Majestic Time, who came with a whirlwind finish to down Any Old Way, who was game in defeat.
Meanwhile, Venus Serena set a New Zealand record for three-year-old fillies when winning a heat of the Nevele R Fillies Series in a staggering time of 1-52.2, which shaved 0.2 of a second off the previous record, held by none other than Adore Me.
“She is just freakish,” said trainer Geoff Dunn. “She never ceases to surprise me.”
“Most horses would be on their hands and knees after a run like she had in the Sales Series race the other week, but she thrived on it and came home and ate all of her tea followed by two breakfasts the next morning.”
By Mitchell Robertson