Many thought that the chances of Saratoga and Border Control qualifying for the Harness Jewels on May 31st went up in smoke when the All Stars pair finished down the track for different reasons at Alexandra Park on Friday.
As it turns out, that is not the case.
In a cunning last minute bid, Purdon and Rasmussen have bought the pair home to their Rolleston base and will give both four-year-olds one last bite at the cherry at Addington on Friday night.
Saratoga, who galloped rounding the final bend last Friday, still sits in 18th place in the Jewels Rankings for the 4YO Ruby, with seasonal earnings of $15,463.
That means that if he wins at Addington on Friday the $6625 winning cheque will see him scrape into the field, as long as none of his Jewels rivals (currently in 13th - 17th place) pocket any significant money of their own between now and Sunday.
Last year’s 3YO Jewels champion and New Zealand mile record holder, Border Control, unfortunately also finds himself in a similar situation after a disappointing fifth in Friday’s NZ Messenger.
“He wears flip-flop shoes, which makes it hard for him to get through the slushy tracks, hence his performance in the Messenger on Friday (track was slightly wet) and his run in the 4 & 5YO Championship at Forbury Park,” explained co-owner Glenys Kennard.
Border Control currently sits 19th in the Jewels rankings for the 4YO Emerald with earnings of $27,562.50, however a win in the $17,500 Winter Cup ($10435 for winning) on Friday could also see him make the cut.
“We have just got to pray for a dry track I guess,” said Kennard.
By Mitchell Robertson