Day At The Track

Purdon on Auckland Reactor scratching

02:20 AM 26 May 2008 NZST
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Co trainer Mark Purdon used the expression "really bizarre, I've never quite struck a problem like it before with racehorses," when commenting on Auckland Reactor's "co ordination problems in his hind limbs" that has forced him out of the Giltrap Toyota 3YO Emerald at Cambridge on Saturday.

"We first became aware of a slight problem with him on Friday but we were more concerned the next day," Purdon told Harnesslink today Monday 26 May.

Purdon who has the colt based with his brother Barry at Clevedon, immediately summoned veterinary assistance to establish the nature and extent of the horse's problem.

"The surgeons have a feeling, and it is only a feeling, that he may well have got a fright when lying down in his box and got up quickly and slipped…He could also have rolled into a wall and hurt himself, too," he said.

"There again he might have chipped or damaged a part of his neck and spinal system and that could be pinching on a nerve."

Purdon said he had been advised to return the colt to Christchurch so veterinarian Dr Bill Bishop could take further tests to pinpoint the actual problem and treat it.

Purdon might yet even sit out the Emerald as the hot pre race favourite's scratching may have for the time being left him without an engagement.

"Blair (Orange) will, of course, stay with Fiery Falcon and I have temporarily booked Tony (brother in law Herlihy) to drive Ohoka Utah but I will speak with the owners and Tony and work out what we will do in the end."

Purdon is not a superstitious man but agreed with the saying to some extent that "things come in threes."

This season's leading co trainer almost lost warm favourite Young Rufus a few days before the 2003 Interdominions in Christchurch when he was struck down by a serious bowel problem and took no part in the series.

"We also lost Kotara Testament as a three year old when he died as a result of travel sickness not that long after buying him.’"

Auckland Reactor's setback is the last thing Jewels promoters had hoped for.

Despite the popularity of other young stars, the unbeaten Mach Three colt stood head and shoulders above other contestants as a promotional vehicle and drawcard.

He was certainly a household name as a barrage of publicity accompanied his prolific feats.

Successful All Stars stable driver Blair Orange recently had no hesitation dubbing him a freak.

Auckland Reactor, yet to taste defeat in 11 starts, was recently sold largely to a Canadian and USA syndicate for $4 million, despite claims of some who persist with a $3.5 million figure.

Auckland Reactor's scratching has seen his classy stablemate Fiery Falcon backed into a $1.90 favourite.

Fiery Falcon, a multiple Gr 1 winner at two and three, was runner up to Auckland Reactor in the Sires' Stakes Final at Addington in November and third to him in last month’s New Zealand Derby at the Christchurch track.

Fiery Falcon won the Gr 1 Woodlands Northern Derby at Alexandra Park on February 29.

Don Wright

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