Day At The Track

Race by race review of "Premier" night at Addington

10:52 PM 10 Oct 2014 NZDT
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Hug The Wind - Super impressive in season debut tonight
Hug The Wind - Super impressive in season debut tonight
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Race 1

Winner: Meticulous

Trainer: Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen

Driver: Tim Williams

Owners: Phil & Glenys Kennard Bloodstock Ltd, Grant Dickey, Rex & Heather Knowler, Stewart Gillan and Phil Creighton.

 The For Sale sign has been taken down from the window of Meticulous.

For most of this week there was speculation the Christian Cullen four-year-old would be withdrawn from this week’s assignment due to a pending sale which never eventuated.

Now, following the impressive geldings eighth win from 21 starts, Mark Purdon is quite keen to keep him in the barn.

“It’s probably a bit hard to sell him after that,’’ he said.

“He’s had his fair share of problems, but right now he seems the best he has ever been in terms of his calmness.

“He could carry on and do quite a nice job I think.’’

Handled expertly by Tim Williams, the speedy pacer crossed the outside of the front line from his 9 barrier and led with ease. Stablemate, Backup sat on his back throughout and was the only one close at the finish when running second.

 The one for next time: Phoenix Warrior: Left in no man’s land from the barrier draw but managed to weave a path through from near last at the 800 metre mark to finish a bold third.


Race 2

Winner: Hug The Wind

Trainer: Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen

Driver: Mark Purdon

Owners: Anne & Tony Parker, Jim and Ann Gibbs and Kevin Warneford

Mark Purdon might have picked Alta Orlando to win the Sires’ Stake heat but that never meant he didn’t think he couldn’t win it with his drive, Hug The Wind.

As it turned out his prediction proved wrong as he and Hug The Wind wore down Natalie Rasmussen and Alta Orlando in the shadows of the post.

“He kept giving and trying the whole way up the straight,’’ he said.

“He’s a beautiful cut of a horse and he has quite a future.

“I would expect he would improve a bit with the run too as he is still carrying a bit of condition.’’

Rasmussen revealed that Alta Orlando’s tendencies to make life difficult for himself by over racing and wanting to things wrong seem to have carried into his three-year-old days.

“He’s just fighting a bit too much out there and pulled to hard tonight,’’ she said.

“But hopefully with a few good runs under his belt those wee issues might sort themselves out.’’

The All Stars Stable made it a clean sweep of the race by picking up third placing with Change Stride who snuck along the markers to complete a stable trifecta.

The one for next time: Zin Zan: Got going quite late in proceedings after looking like he was labouring at the top of the straight. A good run in his first look at the elite company.


Race: 3

Winner: Donaldson

Trainer: Greg and Nina Hope

Driver: Stevie Golding

Owners: Greg & Nina Hope, Morrie Molloy, William Middleton and the Coffey Family Syndicate.

Greg Hope feels Donaldson deserves a crack at the Dominion Handicap during Cup Week, but he’s not sure whether or not he will get the chance.

The consistent trotter mate it win number seven against a small but handy field in the lower grade trot continuing a great run this season for himself and his young driver, Stevie Golding.

The pair have footed it with the best in Canterbury and took the opportunity to drop in grade this week and then went and made the most of it.

“He’s been really good this time in,’’ Greg Hope said.

“I’d like to think he could work his way into the Dominion but he’s quite low in the grades so it might be hard for him.

“He definitely deserves a shot though.’’

Golding joined up with the Woodend Beach stable at the start of the season and has been in a purple patch of form winning six races and currently leading the national junior drivers premiership.

He showed real patience with the son of Earl keep him held up until he could have one shot at them in the run to the line, snatching victory from the jaws of Rare Opportunity who was a brave runner up.

The one for next time: Oh Nova: Nothing really went right for the speedy little trotter. Got caught on the markers but was putting gin some pretty telling strides late in the piece.

Race: 4

Winner: Bio Marinus

Trainer: Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen

Driver: Mark Purdon

Owners: Lavros Lodge Ltd

Usually a horse who takes him time to come to peak fitness after a spell, Bio Marinus has, for this campaign anyway, hit the ground running at full speed.

After a bold fresh-up second behind the smart Wesley Silcox last week the Art Major four-year-old was very impressive winning after sitting parked for the last lap and then wearing down a brave Billie’s A Star in the run to the line.

“He probably wasn’t travelling that good at the top of the straight.

“But each time I asked him for some effort he gave me a little bit more.

“He’s not an all and all out star, but he is a very nice horse who will keep doing a good job.’’

Billie’s A Star was massive in defeat and will snare another win at short notice for Phil Burrows.

The one for next time: Nicky’s Dynamic: Dragged the three wide line up in the last lap and never gave up the task in the run to the line. Should drop into something a little easier in the coming weeks and be hard to beat.



Race: 5

Winner: Habibti

Trainer: David and Catherine Butt

Driver: David Butt

Owners: Robert Paterson, Birchbrook Breeding Ltd, Lynne Paterson

David Butt isn’t quite sure what to make of Habibti.

The Woodend Beach horseman hasn’t been all that happy with his star performer so far this season, but each time he takes the brilliant mare to the races she seems to lift.

That was the case this week when she wore down a star-studded field in the Group 3 Canterbury Park Trotting Cup, showing her blistering turn of foot.

“She surprised me a bit to be honest,’’ Butt said.

“I haven’t been at all happy with her at home, but she’s certainly lifted when we have taken her to the races that is for sure.’’

Camped off the speed while those in front were running a hot pace, Butt angled Habibti to the middle of the track and she stormed home to win impressively from Mr Consistent AKA: Sheemon with Stent third and Master Lavros fourth.

Butt will now point Habibti toward a run at Methven next week off a long handicap in a $13,000 Fillies and Mares’ Trot.

Mark Jones reported he was much happier with Master Lavros whose condition told inside the final 200 metres.

The one for next time: Superbowlcheerleader: Forced to sit parked on a hot speed the tough mare never shirked the challenge and although beaten she kept fighting.



Race: 6

Winner: Tiger Tara

Trainer: Geoff Dunn

Driver: Gerard O’Reilly

Owners: Bob & Jen Sandford, John Gould and Geoff Dunn

Don’t be fooled by the narrow margin, Tiger Tara made things look a little more difficult than they were.

The Geoff Dunn trained pacer continued his incredible run which should culminate in a run in the New Zealand Trotting Cup with a tradesman like performance in a small, but talented intermediate grade pace.

In front and rolling along the tough little pacer showed, again, his liking to allow horses to get close to  him before kicking clear again.

“He’s just mucking around,’’ Gerard O’Reilly said.

“At the end of the race he was actually doing it pretty easily.’’

Dunn will now consider his options looking forward with Tiger Tara already inside the cut off line in the rankings for the Cup.

He may look to keep him away from the big guns for as long as possible which could mean he won’t take them on until Cup Day itself.

American import, Johny Rock, was a very good second after flying out of the mobile gate and he will continue to improve as he gets more racing under his belt.

The one for next time: Mighty Flying Mac: Expect this guy to take huge benefit out of his first up run. He wasn’t far away but clearly his condition told in the closing stages.



Race: 7

Winner: Terror To Love

Trainer: Graham and Paul Court

Driver: Ricky May

Owner: Terry McDonald

If connections of horses in the New Zealand Trotting Cup weren’t already worried about Terror To Love, they are now.

The three-time New Zealand Trotting Cup winners was simply freakish in winning the Canterbury Classic coming from a mile off the speed to breeze on by some quality opposition and win in style.

In a typically patient and no fuss fashion, Ricky May never panicked despite at one stage being at least 15 lengths off the leader, Pure Power.

Forced wide on the bend, Terror To Love was vulnerable without doubt but he flattened out and stormed into it.

“His speed is pretty unreal,’’ May said.

“He picked them up pretty easily in the end, it was a really good performance.’’

The win left the camp behind the champ all smiles with Paul and Graham Court both adamant there is still some improvement to come yet.

What was more concerning was that he had a small gallop at the beginning of the race.

“He actually paced away, and then things got a little tight and I think he got a fright.

“I don’t know if we need to be too concerned about it but it doesn’t help the cause.’’

In behind the action there were plenty of meritorious performances.

Franco Nelson boomed home from well back as well to nab second while Christen Me who was forced to sit parked on a slick pacer was brave to the end in running third.

The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen pairing of Hands Christian and Adore Me were both hitting the line well – as was Four Starzzz Flash.

The one for next time: Adore Me: She made up a tonne of ground. A really good starting performance from wonderful mare. She won’t be out of contention in a Cup.



Race: 8

Winner: Parramatta

Trainer: Terry and Glenys Chmiel

Driver: Terry Chmiel

Owners: Audrey and Thomas Piercy

Terry Chmiel has always had a high opinion of Parramatta and this week he showed why.

The talented four-year-old entire overcame an outside of the second row barrier draw to win the Super Series final for horses who were graded as CO at the 9th of August.

Chmiel took bad luck out of the equation by pushing forward from his back row draw to find the lead within the first 600 metres and from there he dominated – dashing away to win in stylish fashion by a big margin.

Out of the former speedy mare Sheng Li, the son of McArdle has had raps on him since day one.

“He’s going to be a pretty nice horse in time,’’ Chmiel said following an earlier win.

Parramatta was the fifth winner for the stable for the season who set a personal best tally of 36 last term.

Brilliant Strike who worked around to sit parked outside the winner kept whacking away up the straight and will win a race at short notice.

The one for next time: Bird Of Paradise: Was probably going to run second had it not been for a check late in proceedings. One for odds in the coming weeks.



Race: 9

Winner: Hot Pants

Trainer: Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen

Driver: Mark Purdon

Owner: Trevor Casey and Natalie Rasmussen

Trevor Casey had double the reason to smile this week.

Not only did his star trotter Stent return to form with a good third in the Canterbury Park Trotting Cup but he also produced a winner with Hot Pants who he co-owns along with Natalie Rasmussen.

After a luckless resuming run, the speedy little trotter took luck out of the equation by working to the lead early in proceedings before handing the lead to Shell Seeker with a lap left to run.

With one cold shot at them the daughter of Majestic Son was too slick

The race itself was farcical with gallopers a plenty both early and late in the race.

After training six winners for the season prior to the night beginning, Purdon and Rasmussen almost doubled their tally in one night with a quartet of wins.

That puts them right up into the top three or four trainers for the season.

The one for next time: Indiana Jones: Making up huge ground late in the piece and looks set to be in for a good few months. Trotter with a lot of ability.



Race: 10

Winner: Mr Franklin

Trainer: Steve Dolan

Driver: Blair Orange

Owner: Mark Wotton, Max Braithwaite, Neil Struthers, Wayne Milligan, Simon Consedine and John Gould. Good manners, a perfect drive and some good old fashioned luck all led to back-to-back victories for Mr Franklin. The Steve Dolan trained pacer was very good winning a junior drivers race last week when handled perfectly by Tom Bagrie but he stepped up a level again this week to sneak along the markers and grab a very brave Provocative Prince in the shadows of the post.

When race favourite, Tokahoka went bush on the bend and extinguished his chances Orange seized on the opportunity to sneak to the inside and grab the dream run along the markers to sneak the win.

A four-year-old gelding by Grinfromeartoear has now won four from 22 and placed on a further six occasions.

The runner up, Provocative Prince was massive in second after doing plenty of work and only faded in the dying the stages – will win one soon.

The one for next time: Johnny Eyre: Came from a long way back again and only needs an ounce of luck before he wins a race – maybe Methven next week?



Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand


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