Day At The Track

Remarkable training feat in Easter Cup

05:44 AM 06 Apr 2019 NZDT
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Turn It Up
Turn It Up was too good up the passing lane
All Stars photo

It is a harness racing truth that you don’t second guess people in harness racing with the names of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen.

If you were a doubter you would not have been after Friday night at Addington.

They produced an incredible training feat to win the 3200m Easter Cup with Turn It Up. Probably Mark can take the credit for concluding after his recent Rangiora trial that he could win a race of that calibre first up in two months. Even in the new age of open class racing where stars rise and fall much faster than they used to it was an extraordinary feat to win his second 3200m G1 at just his 11th start.

Mark never lacked confidence in the move after Rangiora.

“He hasn’t raced for a while but he is a very athletic type and while he wasn’t racing he was doing conditioning work up north before coming down to us so I don’t think it is beyond him”

Admittedly, after Mark used him early to take the lead and then trailed, Turn It Up was stretched to hold out A G White Sox but in a 3.58 and change in a charge through the slush it was still a great effort.

But, to be fair the New Zealand Cup winner, Thefixer, lost no caste in defeat.

He renewed memories of the (good?) old days of handicap racing. Starting from behind the front line means at some stage you have to go around the field. Turn It Up got rid of that early to reach the lead but Spankem and Thefixer weren’t going to manage that .

Thefixer moved around and sat parked then Spankem took over that role so Thefixer would have run about the same time as the winner,

Not to forget Elle Mac went a great race too under the radar perhaps.

The Turn It Up is a fairy story in most respects likely to be a pointer to the 2019 New Zealand Cup. Mark selected him in Australia largely for his treasued friend Neil Pilcher and the ghost of that special man, with the trademark sly grin, surely hovered over Addington on Friday.

It was typical of Mark and Natalie they had handed a share in the horse to Neil’s brother Lee

Neil also shared ownership in ONE CHANGE who won the Welcome Stakes, now owned by All Stars Stables with Trevor Casey and Mike Woodlock who had missed the youngsters surprise first up win two weeks ago because of a prior engagement in Nelson. Trevor and All Stars have raced a number of horses together and Mike, a retired St Andrews College teacher who has always been a harness fan and helps out at All Stars.

“I think he has gone up in the ratings” Trevor Casey said of One Change. “Tonight reminds me of Neil and I's first win in this race with Zakariah. Nobody really expected him to win and he paid a good price ($25)”

Neil Pilcher then won three Welcome Stakes in succession, two of them with Trevor Casey, and the other with Ann and Jim Gibbs who raced Turn It Up with Pilch before his untimely death.

Happy owners and supporters acclaim One Change after All Stars 13th win in the Welcome Stakes and 7th on end


Happy owners and supporters acclaim One Change after All Stars 13th win in the Welcome Stakes and 7th on end.(All Stars photo)

About the only criticism the connections of One Change could make was the narrowness of his winning margins which tend not to help blood pressure levels.

But even that begs to compare with the “Major Mark” Syndicate, who won the Welcome Stakes away back in 2010 and since then a raft of top performers including Derby winners, Fly Like An Eagle and Border Control, Derby runner -up Ulltimate Machete and Heaven Rocks plus a number of feature winners.

 

Courtesy of All Stars Stables

http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

 

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