GREAT TROTTER HAS RUN LAST RACE
I Can Doosit's outstanding race career came to an end with a phone call to All Stars Stables on Wednesday morning. The call was from Dr Bill Bishop to Mark Purdon and revealed bad news from x rays taken after the champ showed up with problems in his comeback bid.
"The muscular trouble had flared up again and the x rays were to decide where we go from here'' Mark said. " Bill thought the situation was serious and he wasn't really happy with continuing any treatment involving injections so there was no other decision really''
I Can Doosit had been away for most of the year with problems which arose when his form tailed off in Auckland last summer.
"At first the prognosis was quite good. But when they went right in and checked the whole situation out it was more serious '' Mark said.
The experts felt we might get one or two more campaigns out of him at best but that that was the very best scenario'' Mark rates the Rowe
Cup as probably his biggest thrill among the 36 wins but it was one of many. "The way he came down the outside and swamped them was a
great feeling. And so was the Dominion because it was my first win in that race''
KEN AND KAREN BRECKON -MANY THRILLS IN A GREAT CAREER
**It might be a case of when the cats away the mice will play but our latest Australian import Cindy Bourke had a moment to remember at Addington on Monday when she was given the drive on a rather portly looking Border Control. She didn't mind admitting she was nervous in spite of her practice at home over the years.
"My Dad rang and we were talking about Border Control and having a standing start. I said I hope he goes away and that is when I told him I was driving today. It is quite a thrill even in a trial and I just hope everything goes ok''
Everything went ok. Border Control stepped looped the field to lead at the 1600m and set a leisurely pace as you would expect of and older bloke now having his first run in public in six months. Alleluia, who trailed him and who will be racing at Auckland next week needed more of a hitout and ran past to win with Isaiah sitting quietly in third. They went a moderate time (3.25.9) but it was a nice workout. And a lot more than that for Cindy !
**NATHAN got an unlikely ending to his second winning drive in five attempts on Miss Lis at Orari on Saturday. Firstly the stable representative Arising Easton was handled by Jeremy Markham so Nathan took the drive on his uncle Grant Payne's candidate Miss Lis. She came with a well timed run which boded well for young Nathan's future in the cart to score at 36/1. Not only that it was Grant's first winner in this phase of his training career and of course the pair worked closely when Grant was at All Stars. Meanwhile, in a disaster to punters, Arising Easton and favourite Mossdale Connor both got into big trouble locking wheels at the start and were out of the contest. Nathan was ooff ot Auckland Sunday no doubt reflecting on how the fortunes of racing can fall.
**TREVOR CASEY'S regular visits to the winner's circle at Addington and other places make the ownership of trotters look easy but you would never tell him that. Trevor knows better and the success at Addington with BONECHIP was further evidence. It was the Monkey Bones four year old's first win since June 2012 and there had been plenty of drama in the meantime.
"He was an outstanding two year old from a potential point of view I thought and Peter Hailes (Auckland) went in with me to buy him after he ran third in the Breeders Crown. Brent Mangos had him then. But as a three year old he suffered a tendon problem He was off the scene for quite a while and it is only now he is showing his real ability again. Bonechip would not have been at Addington but for the track's new found marketing mojo specifically its rich series finals. "Probably he was better off in a $10,000 race at Orari'' Trevor said.
"But there is a $23,000 Futurity race later in the month at Addington and the only proviso is you must have started in a race there. So that is why we were here tonight. It is good promotion"
It wasn't Trevor's only winner last night. He is a member of the syndicate organised by Barry Purdon. Barry bought five horses and they have had sensational success so far, the latest being Going to California, a winner at Alexandra Park.
**MOST would have tipped All Stars to give Jeremy Markham his first raceday win but father Carl came to the party with a long odds shot DIGGERBOY the rank outsider in a field of 14 paying $36. To be fair that was more about the horse's unpredictable form than the form of the driver but while Jeremy might have once had dreams that his old mate I CAN DOOSIT could somehow fit into a junior driver's field he will take Diggerboy any time especially with Dad as the trainer.
**PAUL FITZPATRICK is the new trainer for Fly Like An Eagle as he prepares for a possible tilt at the Miracle Mile. The Eagle lands in Sydney on Tuesday after a distinguished career in New Zealand. Mark will be sorry to see him go and has one regret "I thought he just didn't get his real chance in the Free for All last Friday. I would have been interested to see how what he would have done with the right run''
Fly Like An Eagle did a lot of things well though and has been a virtual "million dollar horse'' for connections when you add stakes won and sale price and he is one of the few horses to have won a Harness Jewels, a Breeders Crown and a Derby -never mind being runner up to one of the great Cup winners at Addington.
**TREVOR CASEY is a man used to the ups and downs of racing and how to handle them and practical considerations took precedence when he retired his brilliant trotting mare, Escapee after the injury she suffered at the end of her race at Addington last week proved to be a suspensory problem. She will be mated with Muscles Hill and Trevor resisted the "try her again next year'' syndrome in making his decision.
"Muscles Hill is a horse getting big reports and and his stock are keenly in demand so that was behind my decision. I could have tried her again and if she was my only horse I probably would have but there are others coming on and you have to make these decisions.''
Trevor remembers her biggest wins the New Zealand and Great Northern Trotting Derby Group One wins, especially the Auckland event.
"Pocaro had that won and went awol the last bit when clear. So it was good to win that one especially when Stent was second''
Escapee also won two races in Australia and the Aldabaran Maori Mile at Bendigo was a special memory. Escapee also ran many valuable placings including seconds to I Can Doosit in both the Dominion Handicap and the Lyell Creek in Auckland. Altogether she won 11 races and over $270,000.
Trevor concedes the pain is eased by the presence of Stent, trained by Colin and Julie De Filippi, going into the Cup meeting. He is even handed. The De Filippi stable has a half-sister to Escapee in work and All Stars a half to Stent.
**LAST YEAR Fly Like An Eagle was on the thinner end of the All Stars trifecta in the Kaikoura Cup win by Sushi Sushi. This year he made no race of the Cup bouncing to the front and never looking like troubling the punters who had made him a $2.70 shot.
"His good beginning was the bonus from a NZ Cup point of view. After that he went great'' Mark said. But he still stops short of predicting he is going to upset the hotpots in the Cup itself. "Terror To Love and Christen Me still look the hardest''
The Eagle, still racing in the interests of his All Stars syndicate along with Joe Muscara, was the first leg in a $50,000 double for All Stars. Arden Rooney gave Mark another armchair drive in the PGG Wrightsons Sales Pace. Once a safe beginning was negotiated that seemed inevitable giving Merv and Meg Butterworth thousands of good reasons for investing in the Noreen Stiven -bred pacer.
While not running for that sort of money ALLELUIA loomed even larger in Sires Stakes calculations with the ease of his win the encouraging thing being how well he handled the sometimes testing Kaikoura atmosphere. BERLUSCONI went great in his wind up for Addington while Mark felt Bonechip may have been bothered by the Kaikoura track. "He had no reason to break but he did it twice on the same corner so it might have just been something about that'' Mark said.
**Popular All Stars owner Trevor Casey could not have been happier when Escapee swept home late at Addington on Friday night. On Saturday that euphoria had faded.
"She trotted so well and from a Trotting Free For All viewpoint it was a great trial. But she has come up with a problem so at the moment whether she gets there is not certain" Trevor said.
"It is bandaged and she is fine walking on it but you never know what the damage is until it is scanned which will happen probably on Tuesday. Mark is not sure how much damage she has done so we will just have to wait and see. It is a character building game'' Trevor said.
It is a hind leg injury which may nor may not have got close to the important parts. Besides the Free For All (Escapee was not going to run in the Dominion Handicap) there was a possible trip to Australia in December. Hopefully all those plans will come to fruition. Meanwhile Trevor only has hope to rely on in the next few days. Mark said it happened soon after the finish of the race but is also hoping for the best from the scan though the Free for All could become problematical by then if there is any significant damage.
but was headed for Australia **MARK and NATALIE have not discounted a start in the Junior Free for All on NZ Cup day with ADORE ME after the mare beat a smart field including several open class pacers at the Ashburton trials, Tuesday. She is due to make her season debut at Ashburton on Monday-if they can find enough horses to run against a mare who looks even improved from last season. "The Junior Free for All is an option at this stage" Mark said after the trial. "I was waiting to see how she went before we made any decisions. She was ready for a good blowout today and ran the times so the Free for All could be a race for her depending on how she races on Monday''.
**MARK has confirmed ALLELUIA is his drive in the Sires Stakes Final on Cup Day and he was happy with his second placing at the trials yesterday in a strong field. The clue was probably Natalie taking the drive on ISAIAH last Friday but making these decisions is always difficult for Mark. "It is great having up to four horses in the final until you have to tell the owners you cannot drive their horse. It is not easy for them either. ''
The Alleluia decision would have been influenced by the fact the star three year old is no picnic to drive at times because of his greenness. He haas spent some time with Jim Dalgety in the last week or so learning more about teamwork and the old master was positive about the progress of the new kid on the block.
**CINDY BOURKE is the latest Aussie to join up with All Stars. She is from New South Wales and has been in the stable about a month already driving fast work and playing her part in the stable success. "It is a big thrill to be here to be honest. It is such a much bigger stable than I have been associated with before and the horses ! So much talent ! I am still awed by that''
**THAT NATHAN would probably win his first drive in a race was pretty well assured when he was nominated for ARDEN ROONEY at Rangiora on Sunday but hardly anyone could have expected what happened next. Nathan won an early battle for the front went up to 10 lengths clear in the early stages, eased in the middle before pouring on the pressure again and came home in his own good time 11 lengths clear of the rest. No wonder. Speaking of a good time Arden Rooney ran 3.09 virtually on his own with a last 800m in 57.3 and a mile rate in 1.56.9 ! Perfect conditions sure, but the Merv and Meg Butterworth gelding as as impressive this week as he was a shade disappointing second up last week.
"I was a bit nervous but once you are out there it is easier'' said Nathan an unassuming sort in the Purdon family tradition but with nice hands and the sense of good judgement which is also a family tradition. He has beaten Dad to the punch too.
"I think I had eight or nine drives before my first winner'' Mark said. Nathan's mother Vicki and aunt Jan Payne,both former All Stars assistants, were on hand for his big moment and for Jan it had a special association.
"(Husband) Grant broke Arden Rooney in and we raced him in partnership before he was sold. So Nathan having his first win with him is special''
**AT THE END OF LAST SEASON Mark nominated Gentle Western to readers of the Harness Racing Weekly as a horse to follow. Not a bad guess for the big youngster went 1.55 dead in his debut at Winton Sunday the third All Stars win on the day. And that was from a second line draw, Gentle Western hanging on by a nose.
Stablemate MACH OF THE MAN had another piece of bad luck from an inside draw on the second line not getting clear until the race as all over and managing third. It was another piece of good judgement from Mark who sat back while the leaders went out to break records and swept up on the turn when many were starting to feel the pinch. They had to call on everything to survive but they did it.
**NATALIE did not take long to strike on Ladies Day at Winton getting the all important trail on Secret's Out behind ace rival Raksdeal and run home in 27.3 (overall 1.56.2) to give former prominent Wingatui galloping trainer, Graeme Mee, who owns the filly with his wife, Ann, a big thrill. By coincidence Secret's Out was bred by Phil Creighton a shareholder in a number of All Star syndicates who offered the Mach Three filly as a yearling at the PGG sales. Graeme, who had prepared the filly for the sale and liked her bought her for $6000. Graeme is the clerk of the course at Wingatui and Forbury Park and prepares several yearlings for the sale each year. His opinion has proven wise in the past and it certainly seems to be the case with Secret's Out.
WILLOW was just as impressive and beautifully rated into the strong wind with a fast last quarter ending the hopes of any rivals. It was another win for Bill Feiss who is enjoying a great run with All Stars just now.