Day At The Track

The birth of a super star

07:25 AM 02 Jan 2020 NZDT
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Self Assured, harness racing
James his stropper Jimmy and Karen Breckon standing in for Jean Feiss after winning the Auckland Cup at his 10th start
Allstars Photo

Self Assured sets the pace, harness racing trainer driver Mark Purdon varies the pace,  third successive Auckland Cup for All Stars with a four-year-old. That’s setting the pace-big time!

Self Assured left no doubt he is a star with a huge future after giving Mark an armchair drive in the $245,000 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup yesterday.

Mark conducted the pace like Mantovani, easing in the middle stages and sprinting home in 26.9 to outclass his rivals in a great display of legal theft.

The overall time of 3.59.5 won’t threaten the record books but All Stars have made a habit of stealing the race in recent years.

Turn It Up, who won the Cup at his 9th start last year ran over 4.03 while Vincent the previous year in the hands of Natalie did not break 4.04.

The fastest recent Cup since the 3200m was restored was Dream About Me who ran 3.55.5 for Mark in 2016

“He began so brilliantly I had to use that advantage”Mark said.

“Yes we got away with a few cheap sectionals but you can’t take anything from him. He was taken on early. He is a terrific young horse”

Mark didn’t win his first Auckland Cup until 2009 with Auckland Reactor but Self Assured is his 3rd driving winner in four years and 4th training success in that time.

Thefixer trailed the winner all the way but could not foot it with that last 400m.

“He was really good, tried hard, Self Assured was just too fast the way the race was run and is a terrific horse “‘

All Stars always thought so but a couple of setbacks as a youngster which including careering around the training track with a cart and no driver had connections holding their breath.

But he showed in a triumphant Queensland winter campaign he was the real deal and has gone on proving it since. Australian four year old features now beckon and who knows? maybe the Miracle Mile won by Spankem as a four year old last season

Tim thought Chase Auckland was really good having had to work in the middle stages and Blair thought Cruz Bromac may have just been feeling the effects of a busy campaign.

Another Masterpiece broke at the start showing pace in the middle stages before the effort told.

Self Assured has now won 8 of his 10 starts

REMARKABLE 7TH SUCCESSIVE 3YO SALES PACE FINAL TO ALL STARS

One Change spent the first part of his racing career as a nice little horse who might make the grade with the good ones.

Now he is the best one and the others are trying to make the grade with him.

“The horse who knows how to win” even if it is not by a lot, added to his Sires Stakes triumph in New Zealand and his honour as the leading juvenile last season with a typical no nonsense win in the $200,000 race.

“I used him early because of that draw. After I handed to Tim on Flying Even Bettor because he was pressing, we got the run and he had his chance but I took some time to get past Tim. He came up trumps again. He knows where the post is.

His win, the 8th of 11 starts for All Stars, Trevor Casey and stable associate Mike Woodlock, lifted his total earnings to nearly $500,000, not a bad return for the $30,000 he cost as a yearling.

Initially picked out by the stable, he failed to impress in a veterinary examination. After he was passed in Trevor drew the stable attention to the fact he was still available and it was decided to take the risk. Some risk.

Amazingly since 2013, All Stars have won this race with Isaiah, Lazarus, Ultimate Machete and Ultimate Sniper-all raced by Kennard syndicates-Have Faith in Me and Chase Auckland before One Change.

It is the only stable in NZ to have won a feature race 7 times in a row a feat it has now achieved twice.

While One Change went about his business in his usual efficient manner, drama was the lot of Smooth Deal checked by a breaking Line Up soon after the start and seemingly out of the race. He recovered to make a big run down the back before wilting the last bit for a brave fifth.

Flying Even Bettor went a mighty race too wresting the early lead, setting a strong pace and just going down over the final stages.

“He was a little hard to rate down the back. He was flopping along one minute and hard on the bit the next. So that was a big effort”Tim said.

Mark refused to concede Smooth Deal was a special beaten but did go as far as to say he would have been “right in it” but for the early check.

JEAN WASN’T THERE BUT THE RESULT WAS THE SAME !

It was back to business as usual in the Alabar Sires Stakes Filly Championship as Amazing Dream added her name to the list at least partly because of the skills of the serial winner of the G1 feature, Natalie Rasmussen.

Natalie bided her time longer than perhaps some were expecting at the back, flushed out Ricky May and Stylish Memphis with a round to go and in the end was a convincing winner making her to top filly of the season to date with more to come.

It was Natalie’s 5th driving win in the race since 2013 the first being Willow owned by Bill Feiss. His wife Jean has won the race a further three times and Natalie steered Golden Goddess to win for the Butterworths to give the stable its 5th win in the race also.

Before the race much was made of the draw and how the smart fillies Spellbound and Need You Now were a danger on the front line but in spite of a lead-trail scenario they only battled in the run home leaving Stylish Memphis and Amazing Dream to fight it out.

It must have been deja vu for Stylish Memphis’s co -trainer Mark Jones as Delightful Memphis, a full sister, had been runner up to Spanish Armada in her year before going on to a distinguished career.

What was also unusual about yesterday’s race was that Jean Feiss was not there. An indefatigable traveller to New Zealand from Australia to watch her horses race, she was in Malta on New Year’s Eve and could not be there.

The winning of the race may well have been Natalie’s ability to give her charge cover down the back straight but the determined filly left no excuses, powering away over the final stages.

Natalie had also nailed Dina Bolt’s hopes doubting the crushing odds the public had about him. She gave him a nice drag in the trail, he took some time to wind up and while going strongly at the finish had to settling for second,

Courtesy of The Allstars Site

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