Day At The Track

War horse Smolda wins $1.1m Inter Dominion

04:01 AM 10 Dec 2016 NZDT
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Harness racing driver and trainer Mark Purdon and his war horse the Courage Under Fire eight-year-old Smolda was outstanding in taking out the $1.1 million TabTouch Inter Dominion at Gloucester Park in front of a large crowd tonight Friday the 9th of December..

Smolda beat the favourite Hectorjayjay who ran a great race and Beaudiene Boaz finished third.

The time of the final was a track record 3.31.3 for the 2936 meters which is a very fast 1:55.8 mile rate.

Smolda takes his earnings over the $2 million mark with this win.

Full article will follow soon. Here is the race;

Here is the full article courtesy of Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

In a fantastic fight between two champions it was the New Zealand warhorse who held off the Victorian firebrand to win a barnstorming Perth Inter Dominion.

Mark Purdon’s outstanding eight-year-old Smolda led Hectorjayjay into a briskly run race and then held out David Aiken’s superstar, a $2.20 favourite, to win by a half-neck.

“It was just a case of fight to the death, to the wire,” a proud Purdon said, savouring further success for the All Stars stable that he shares with trainer Natalie Rasmussen.

The crown is added to their Hunter Cup (Smolda), Miracle Mile (Have Faith In Me) and New Zealand Trotting Cup (Lazarus) wins in an incredible 2016 for the stable, which is Victorian bound for the Summer Of Glory at Tabcorp Park Melton on January 28 and February 4.

For Aiken’s Avenel team, whose campaign was partly derailed when Lennytheshark was scratched owing to a foot abscess, Hectorjayjay and driver Josh Aiken departed the track knowing they had given all they had.

Aiken elected to take Hectorjayjay to the back of the field from gate nine and it would prove wise, with Run Oneover setting an electric pace in finding the front, crafting a 1:35.4 lead time in the 2936m staying test.

It seemed the key swoopers were well paced, with Bling It On leader’s back and Beaudiene Boaz one-out and one-back, but there was little respite in 29.8 and 29.3 first and second quarters.

Then Purdon broke the race open when he stepped out three-wide from the back and charged around the field, carrying his main threat into the race.

The scene appeared set for Hectorjayjay to let down with his scintillating sprint, but the pace had taken its toll and despite Aiken’s best effort it was the Courage Under Fire veteran who would outstay them all and win in a 1:55.8 mile rate, some 1.2 seconds under the previous track record.

“A lap out here I wondered if I made the right move,” Purdon said afterwards. “Down the back I knew (Smolda) was enjoying his work, I knew the horse to beat was outside me.

“(Hectorjayjay) was going better than me on the corner. I think when Josh (Aiken) went for him, he went for a little bit, but the time that they were going just took its toll.”

And with that, Smolda was the 2016 Perth Inter Dominion champion, with Hectorjayjay finishing a half-neck second and Beaudiene Boaz a further 7.9m back in third.

The victory would have also brought great joy to Victorian breeder Paul Blackshaw, with Smolda coming from a maternal line his family had been breeding for more than four decades.

“He was a magnificent looking individual,” Blackshaw told harnessnews.com.au. “He was just so athletic and carried himself so well, even as a foal. He just had something about him from the start.”

It was a point not lost on Purdon as the gelding out of Under The Mattress surpassed $2 million in career stakes.

“We bought him the first year (at Australian sales),” he said. “He’s been a wonderful horse, holds a lot of special memories and just one of those horses who never lets you down on race night.”

For the full results of the night click on this link.
 

Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

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