Day At The Track

The Purdon Inter Dominion dynasty

08:30 AM 12 Dec 2019 NZDT
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Lazarus and Mark Purdon,Harness racing
Mark Purdon and Lazarus

When a youthful Mark Purdon captured the 1991 Auckland Inter Dominion aboard Mark Hanover trained in partnership by legendary father Roy and older brother Barry, little did he realize what the future was to hold.

All in, the Purdon’s have figured in nine Inter victories, three in the pacing ranks and six with the trotters.

For champion trainer/driver Mark it has been a ritual to go in search of Australasia’s most prestigious harness event, with success coming on several occasions.

Following Mark Hanover, A few years went by before Mark’s name began to become dominant, especially in the trotting ranks scoring with Pride Of Petite in 1996 (Melbourne), and 1997 (Adelaide) when driven by brother in law Tony Herlihy which became one of the greatest races ever seen at Globe Derby Park, then came Buster Hanover (Sydney) in 1998 with Herlihy again the winning reinsman.

Thirteen years elapsed before I Can Doosit trained and driven by Mark with Grant Payne as associate trainer scored successive victories – Auckland in 2011 and Melbourne 2012.

Back in 1993 Mark’s father Roy had combined with Barry to land the 1993 Trotters Grand Final in Auckland with Night Arrow.

In 2016 and 2017 it was the pacers that really made Mark a force to be reckoned with when two outstanding horses Smolda and Lazarus came on the scene. Smolda being victorious in 2016 and Lazarus 2017 when both series were held in Perth.

Partner Natalie Rasmussen is no stranger to the Inters either after her outstanding pacer Blacks A Fake scored at Hobart in 2006, Adelaide 2007, Melbourne 2008 and Menangle 2010 and could have easily been five after going down narrowly to Mr Feelgood at the Gold Coast the year before.

Barry Purdon himself will have two Grand Final runners this year when A G’s White Socks and Mach Shard step out to do battle.

Since registering the partnership, Mark and Natalie have qualified five horses for this year’s series headed by Ultimate Sniper, Cruz Bromac, Chase Auckland, Thefixer and Ashley Locaz.

With Mark, Barry and Natalie being the most prolific name in New Zealand and Australian harness racing, the name Purdon will be prominent for a long period of time to come.

 

Len Baker

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