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It is a harness racing truth that you don’t second guess people in harness racing with the names of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. If you were a doubter you would not have been after Friday night at Addington. They produced an incredible training feat to win the 3200m Easter Cup with Turn It Up. Probably Mark can take the credit for concluding after his recent Rangiora trial that he could win a race of that calibre first up in two months. Even in the new age of open class racing where stars rise and fall much faster than they used to it was an extraordinary feat to win his second 3200m G1 at just his 11th start. Mark never lacked confidence in the move after Rangiora. “He hasn’t raced for a while but he is a very athletic type and while he wasn’t racing he was doing conditioning work up north before coming down to us so I don’t think it is beyond him” Admittedly, after Mark used him early to take the lead and then trailed, Turn It Up was stretched to hold out A G White Sox but in a 3.58 and change in a charge through the slush it was still a great effort. But, to be fair the New Zealand Cup winner, Thefixer, lost no caste in defeat. He renewed memories of the (good?) old days of handicap racing. Starting from behind the front line means at some stage you have to go around the field. Turn It Up got rid of that early to reach the lead but Spankem and Thefixer weren’t going to manage that . Thefixer moved around and sat parked then Spankem took over that role so Thefixer would have run about the same time as the winner, Not to forget Elle Mac went a great race too under the radar perhaps. The Turn It Up is a fairy story in most respects likely to be a pointer to the 2019 New Zealand Cup. Mark selected him in Australia largely for his treasued friend Neil Pilcher and the ghost of that special man, with the trademark sly grin, surely hovered over Addington on Friday. It was typical of Mark and Natalie they had handed a share in the horse to Neil’s brother Lee Neil also shared ownership in ONE CHANGE who won the Welcome Stakes, now owned by All Stars Stables with Trevor Casey and Mike Woodlock who had missed the youngsters surprise first up win two weeks ago because of a prior engagement in Nelson. Trevor and All Stars have raced a number of horses together and Mike, a retired St Andrews College teacher who has always been a harness fan and helps out at All Stars. “I think he has gone up in the ratings” Trevor Casey said of One Change. “Tonight reminds me of Neil and I's first win in this race with Zakariah. Nobody really expected him to win and he paid a good price ($25)” Neil Pilcher then won three Welcome Stakes in succession, two of them with Trevor Casey, and the other with Ann and Jim Gibbs who raced Turn It Up with Pilch before his untimely death. Happy owners and supporters acclaim One Change after All Stars 13th win in the Welcome Stakes and 7th on end Happy owners and supporters acclaim One Change after All Stars 13th win in the Welcome Stakes and 7th on end.(All Stars photo) About the only criticism the connections of One Change could make was the narrowness of his winning margins which tend not to help blood pressure levels. But even that begs to compare with the “Major Mark” Syndicate, who won the Welcome Stakes away back in 2010 and since then a raft of top performers including Derby winners, Fly Like An Eagle and Border Control, Derby runner -up Ulltimate Machete and Heaven Rocks plus a number of feature winners.   Courtesy of All Stars Stables http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/  

A masterly piece of big race judgement from Mark Purdon ensured Cheerful gave Braeden and Caroline Whitelock their second win of the night in the NZ Trotting Oaks. The Whitelocks, best known for their pacing breeding skills bought Cheerful as a yearling. She is from Superbowlcheerleader that Mark trained later in her career and won features from the stable. But everything went wrong for Cheerful in the running and only the skills of Mark got her home by a tight margin in a huge finish. Cheerful worked across from a wide draw but taking the front from a hard pulling rival took some of her resources and there was no immediate letup. Then Swiss Miss swept past her and went some lengths clear with 500m to go which suggested the little filly might struggle to fill a place. “I watched it go because I had already done quite a lot with my filly during the race and it wasn’t practical to fight off another one” Mark said, Instead he cuddled her resources and worked back into contention as Swiss Miss faded and then outfinished a game Overzealous who had enjoyed a saloon passage courtesy of Jim Curtin. It was a top performance but not enough to persuade Mark to take on the males in the Trotting Derby. “No I don’t think she is quite ready for that. We will stick to the filly races in the meantime   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

A lengthy association with All Stars came to an end, at least in the foreseeable future, for stable manager, Michelle Neilson last week on her return to Australia after seven years at Rolleston. Michelle came over from Australia where she had had considerable experience as a junior driver and through family connections with racing in 2012 around the same time Natalie made her base permanently at Rolleston. “I poached her actually” Natalie confesses. “She was very good, had a lot of potential and I knew she would fit in well over here. She did” Initially a stablehand and junior driver, Michelle drove six winners in her first full season in New Zealand and was keen for more driving opportunities which was not easy with Mark Natalie and Blair available for the team. In her final Junior year she handled 20 winners. For a brief period she left All Stars in search of greater driving opportunities. She was back for her first open driver season in which she handled three of her five winners for All Stars, Serengeti, Riccardo and Golden Goddess, the latter when she ended Dream About Me’s 12 successive win tally. In the past two seasons as stable manager she has had fewer opportunities but won three of only 14 drives in the 2018 season including one with Princess Tiffany (admittedly a Breeders Crown heat which was a walkover) and two raceday successes with Kayla Marie compiling a 10 per cent winning strike rate overall with 35 wins. There would have been plenty more but for her executive position at All Stars which encompassed nominations here and in Australia, flight and veterinary planning and a number of other responsibilities not directly connected to the training of the horses. It was a big challenge for someone who until then had followed instructions rather than giving them and acting as a team leader-acquired skills sometimes underrated by outside observers. Especially on the major days when All Stars had huge numbers involved the planning was intense . The work involved a 7 day mindset and in the regular absences of Mark and Natalie overseas heavy responsibility which can take a toll eventually, Some time ago when indicating she would return to Australia, Michelle referred to family pressures and the desire for a change of direction. “I have been here seven years and away from my family for most of that time and that is a factor in my thinking. I didn’t expect originally that I would be away this long. “I guess too there is a time for thinking about a new direction in life having followed this one for so long. Just a freshen up really. I have made no decisions about that but will have a chance to think and reflect on it when I get home” Michelle leaves with the best wishes of Mark and Natalie and All Stars staff, the longest serving of several Australians the stable has “imported” over several years.   Courtesy of All Stars Stables http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

Miracle Mile hero Spankem is set to race on this season setting up a big-three battle for harness racing’s Horse of the Year honour.  And crucial votes in the contest could end up being won at Alexandra Park next month as Spankem clashes with elite stablemates Turn It Up and Chase Auckland.  After his surprise thrashing of his Miracle Mile opponents at Menangle 12 days ago Spankem was sent for a veterinary examination as is so often the case with the better All Stars-trained runners at the end of long campaigns.  Any sign of soreness or issues would have probably seen the four-year-old sent to the paddock but trainer Mark Purdon liked what the vets had to report and Spankem will be Auckland-bound next month.  “They checked him out and said he is in great condition so we will aim him at the Taylor Mile (April 26) and the Messenger (May 3) at Alexandra Park,” said Purdon.   That means all three of the Purdon-Rasmussen mega race winners from this season will race on as Thefixer (New Zealand Cup) and Turn It Up (Auckland Cup) are also going to have autumn campaigns.  Thefixer will contest the Superstars at Addington on March 29 and then the Easter Cup and victory in the latter would go a long way to making him harness racing’s Horse of the Year.  But that will probably round out his season and if either Spankem or Turn It Up could sweep the Alexandra Park double they would enormously boost their chances on making the title race interesting.  Turn It Up could yet contest the Easter Cup but is more likely to head to the Rangiora Classic on April 7 before Alexandra Park.  There he will go head to head with Spankem and Chase Auckland in the group one four-year-old races before more than likely contesting the Jewels at Addington on June 1.  “He hasn’t had the summer racing of some of the others or the travel to Australia,” explains Purdon of Turn It Up.  “So he will probably press on to the Jewels whereas the two big races at Auckland will probably do it for Spankem.”  Spankem versus Turn It Up with the remainder of a strong four-year-old crop led by Chase Auckland would really spice up the Taylor Mile-Messenger double and could go some way to resolving the question of who the best pacer in the country is. The news Turn It Up is more than likely to race on until the Jewels will be welcomed by Addington officials as they prepare to host the massive day for the first time, with Auckland Cup-winning four-year-olds always a risk to miss the Jewels and be spelled to aim at the New Zealand Cup.   Michael Guerin

11 Group One wins in a career of 41 races is honour enough. Being in the first 5 in 37 of them and never finishing further back than 6th when she completed a race wasn’t bad either. And lets not forget those those 12 wins in a row from start one which had the harness world ga-ga. Dream About Me was certainly something special. Her first start and win was in a Sires Stakes heat at two and three starts later she won the Sires Stakes Final and then the Harness Jewels Diamond. She then went to Australia and was unbeaten there at two culminating in the Breeders Crown for fillies. She went back in the summer and won her first four starts went down to Tell Me Tales in 1.49.3 in the Robin Dundee before winning the NSW Oaks. She did not get back to Australia until this year when she lost her only race in Australia (1.49.3 mile behind Tell Me Tales) before winning the Ladyship. Three campaigns in Australia and the three leading female Group Ones, one for each trip. Not bad. If it wasn’t for Adore Me’s 1.47.7 win in the Ladyship Mile in 2015 that champion mare would have to bow to her “cousin” on the Australian front. Adore Me had to settle for second in the Ladyship Mile (to Vansumic in 1.51) on her first trip to Australia and won the G2 Brian Hancock leading into her success in that race in 2015. Dream About Me was well underdone when her winning streak was ended by Golden Goddess on her return from Australia but she won the Nevele R Final at her next start, added the NZ Oaks next start and was then cruelly beaten in the Harness Jewels flying home from a woeful draw for third After a warm up win at Ashburton at four she easily won the Junior Free for All on Cup Day before being set for the Auckland Cup. A four year old mare winning a 3200m staying race in 3.55.4 is something you don’t see every season, maybe not even every decade. “Splendour” went through a bad patch after that. Foot trouble ended an Australian campaign before it began and continued to plague her so that it was not until October she resumed now with Tim Williams She took time to hit her straps but was always in for the fight and when you are going down to Lazarus by half a neck in the Ashburton Flying Stakes you are doing something right. But nothing went right on Cup Day. Drawn on the second line and stopped in her tracks at the start she took no part. Ok so beating Lazarus was going to be a challenge but she was ready for the run of her life. After being fourth in the Free for All she was hit by more problems and was not seen on the tracks again until the following August, Beaten twice by Thefixer, she took out the time honoured Hannon Memorial and was beaten a mere head by Eamon Maguire who had a superior run before ensuring her strength as a stayer was in play in the NZ Cup going down very late to Thefixer (trail) and Tiger Tara a head and half a length from the winner. She posted a double at the Auckland Cup meeting including the Queen of Hearts which gained her an automatic start in the Ladyship but was well below her best in the Auckland Cup where the time of 4.03 was eight seconds slower than her winning time the previous year. But she went out on a high. The champion mare of New Zealand with her Standardbred Breeders win at Addington and champion mare of Australia with the Ladyship. It was a hell of a farewell. Dream About Me was a 1.50.1 miler and a 3.55.4 “two miler” . Just off of Adore Me (1.47.7 and 3.54.6) but not far off. $1.2m compared to Adore Me’s $1.67m. But really even being compared to Adore Me is as high a tribute to a mare in modern times you could find. Splendour was at her best in tough staying races rather than those of outright speed. It may be no coincidence her worst race in recent times was the Auckland Cup which was just a sprint home .She was resilient, coming back twice from major setbacks mostly to do with her feet which were of unusual design. Her limbs were as sound as a bell. Dream About Me was never the glamour mare Adore Me was. Because she was just so sheer bloody efficient in her work and in her races, utterly dependable, always giving her best, never quite demanding or hitting the headlines she so often deserved. But her power when others were fading, her determination when others were wavering, her resilience when others might have limped into the history books and that glorious finale -the lioness at the head of the tribe- those are things we will never forget.   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables

Nights like this make it all worthwhile for Mark Purdon.  Because it not the money or the glory that keeps Purdon away from home all summer. It is the satisfaction he feels when things go right and Purdon and partner Natalie Rasmussen can get the best out of their horses and do the right thing by their owners.  And things went all the way right on Saturday night a Menangle.  The All Stars trained four winners, three at group one level and most importantly the quinella in the A$1 million Miracle Mile as Spankem outsped stablemate Thefixer.  It was Purdon’s first driving success in the Mile, a race his brother Barry and brother-in-law Tony Herlihy had both driven the winners of before so Mark was thrilled to join the family honour roll.  “It is a race I’m glad I finally won because it is one I always wanted and it would have annoyed me if I retired one day not having got it,” says Purdon.  But personal glory is not what motivates Purdon to spend three tiring months on the road, with the Hall of Famer admitting his gruelling summer has sapped him.  “It has been hard,” says Purdon.  “I think the only time I have been home since early December was for the yearling sales and while it is great to have all these horses and to win big races traveling all the time isn’t easy.  “I think people see nights like what we had on Saturday and see the glamour but it has been a testing summer in some ways.  “But when you see the horses race that well and the thrill the owners and the staff get out of it, it is very, very satisfying.” As dominant as horses like Our Princess Tiffany (NSW Oaks) and Our Dream About Me (Ladyship Mile) were, Purdon still needed his rarest of training skills to get them there.  Both of that pair and Spankem were in doubt for this carnival just three weeks ago and part of Purdon’s mastery is his self-belief to change his plans at the last minute to suit how a horse feels.  Three weeks ago Spankem was coming home to New Zealand with a hoof abscess, now he is the Miracle Mile champion, with delayed flights also helping.  “I wasn’t surprised he won because his work last week was so good and his gate speed was a huge asset,” says Purdon.  “And he loved the big track and the speed racing. But he still had to be good to hold out Thefixer.” Spankem will now have a short break while Dream About Me retires a last-start group one winner. Our Princess Tiffany was breathtaking and has raced back to the head of the fillies ranks while All U Need Is Faith got a deserved listed win.  As for Purdon, he will make it part of the way home (Christchurch), flying into Auckland today to put the finishing touches on his team for Derby night at Alexandra Park this Friday.  The machine rolls on. Michael Guerin

Champion horseman Mark Purdon has added another Grand Circuit event to his record. Purdon took the winning drive behind star four-year-old Spankem to claim the $1 million Ainsworth Miracle Mile at TABCORP Park, Menangle when leading throughout to defeat stablemate Thefixer and Poster Boy in a time of 1:47.7. It’s the first time Purdon has driven a Miracle Mile winner. Back in 2016, Have Faith In Me scored for the All Stars stable when handled by Natalie Rasmussen. Amazingly, the Miracle Mile was considered as an afterthought after missing the recent Chariots of Fire, Spankem showed his class and toughness after claiming the Canadian Club Sprint qualifier a week ago before scoring last night (Saturday). Boasting three runners in the event, the All Stars stable finished 1st, 2nd and 4th in the country’s premier sprint race. Spankem, a son of Bettors Delight, becomes only the 7th four-year-old to win the Miracle Mile since its inception back in 1967 and joins the likes of Mount Eden, Gundary Flyer, Westburn Grant, Iraklis, Christian Cullen and Have Faith In Me. New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer showed early speed from gate two and headed off Poster Boy while Spankem pushed forward quickly from his wide draw (gate 6) and found the lead before the end of the first quarter. The opening split was timed in 26.9 seconds. Spankem settled perfectly in front with Thefixer sitting behind him while Poster Boy and Chase Auckland also rode the pegs. My Alpha Rock was left facing the breeze with his stablemate Yayas Hot Spot landing one out/one back cover while current Grand Circuit leader Tiger Tara sat last on the outside. Defending champion My Field Marshal drifted back to the rear soon after the start but lost contact with the field and dropped out and took no competitive part. It was later established that My Field Marshal had suffered cardiac arrhythmia. Passing the half, Spankem went through the second section in 28.2 seconds. No moves were being made and Purdon continued to dictate terms in front and Spankem traveled strongly. Heading off the back straight, the third quarter was posted in 27.2 seconds. Upon straightening, Spankem led the way with Thefixer coming to his outside in readiness to outsprint him while Poster Boy and Chase Auckland also starting to wind up. In the straight, Spankem held Thefixer with Poster Boy closing off well for third and Chase Auckland running fourth. Tiger Tara eventually dropped off slightly in the straight to finish fifth. The final split was timed in an astonishing 25.4 seconds – the fastest ever closing split ever recorded in Australia. The winning time is the third quickest in the event’s history, only My Field Marshal (1:46.9) and Have Faith In Me (1:47.5) have gone faster. Naturally, Purdon was thrilled with the result. “It’s a great result for the stable; having three runners engaged and they’ve all performed really well so it’s particularly pleasing for the stable overall,” Purdon said. “Personally, it’s a massive thrill to win this race; it has so much history and a certain aura about it so it’s great to finally win it.” He added. Purdon has had three previous drives in the Miracle Mile; Lazarus (3rd), Jack Cade (2nd) and Young Rufus (4th). Only one leg remains of the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit – the Gr.1 $200,000 Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship at Albion Park on July 20. Chris Barsby

THEY DOMINATE New Zealand harness racing like no-one ever has before them.   And the powerful All Stars stable struck gold in the first of the pacing group ones at Menangle tonight when outstanding filly Our Princess Tiffany scored a stunning all-the-way in in the $200,000 John Gibson Memorial NSW Oaks. Taken straight to the front from the six gate, Our Princess Tiffany scored her 11th win from just 13 starts and she did it in world record time for a pacing filly, rating a mile rate of 1:53.4 to score by an amazing 16.5m from Victorian Tangoingwithsierra (Todd McCarthy) with Arabella Star (Zac Phillips) another four and three-quarter metres back in third place. The danger to Our Princess Tiffany was expected to come from Emma Stewart's top three-year-old filly Kualoa, who was such a convincing winner in her heat of the Oaks last week. But the barrier worked against Kualoa, even though her reinsman Chris Alford wasted no time getting her into the action, jumping onto the back of Tangoingwithsierra with a lap to go and grabbing a three-wide cart in the race. She found the spot outside the leader but didn't have enough left to stay with the New Zealand filly as her reinsman Natalie Rasmussen put her foot on the gas pedal before the home turn. Our Princess Tiffany had them all off the bit and chasing in no time and increased the margin even further turning into the home stretch, rating her last half in 54.7s for the easiest of wins. Her rivals chased hard but were no match for this outstanding daughter of Art Major, who won as she liked, giving Rasmussen an early double and sounding a warning to rivals that the All Stars stable had come to town and they weren't here for the scenery. Co-trainer Mark Purdon doesn't usually go overboard about his horses but was more effervescent than ever about Our Princess Tiffany, suggesting she might turn out to be the best filly he has had in his care. A massive statement from New Zealand's biggest and most successful stable. Sean Vella SVella@clubmenangle.com.au    

Natalie has decided against appealing a heavy suspension over her drive behind Chase Auckland at Menangle last week. After Miracle Mile night next week she will be sidelined for two months at a time when a number of feature events such as the Woodlands Northern Derby on March 8 behind Ultimate Sniper plus a host of other features and wins. The case was heard on Saturday. “I had the certain feeling last week I was in for a suspension and probably a longer one. I was sure they had made up their minds about the charge so I was ready for something like this” “Appealing this sort of charge is a headache anyway with all the coming and going and while I will miss those good races I am rather looking forward to a break from the driving to be honest !” To add insult to injury Natalie was fined $400 on Saturday for her whip use on Thefixer. “I was charged with engaging with the shoulder which was a new one to me. I didn’t feel I’d done anything wrong.” The good news was that the Miracle Mile runners all came through their leadup race well. “Those three boys were especially fresh and good this morning around the paddock and I don’t think they have taken any harm at all.” Natalie said. “The draws are going to help. Luke has driven Chase Auckland a bit over here and is an ideal driver for a race like this” Mark and Natalie both paid a heartfelt tribute to travelling foreman Poi Bowden after Saturday’s success. “He is just such a good operator and a good judge. He was really big on Spankem all week and he knew what he was talking about” Mark said “It is just so important to us to have someone who can tell you exactly where the team is at. Its so valuable especially when we cannot be there all the time. He has played a big role in our success” Natalie was thrilled with the performance of Princess Tiffany especially as she was driven with some reserve. “I knew from Wednesday work at Addington she was ready so I was very confident actually. But I was conscious she hadn’t raced for some time and I didn’t want her to have a real gutbuster a week before the Oaks Final. As it happened she got it both ways. I waited until late but she just sprinted past them like the terrific filly she is. I don’t know what she ran her last quarter in but it was 26.5 off the front which is a good guide !” Ashley Locaz and Cruz Bromac will be in the G1 Bonanza next Saturday and All You Need is Faith in a Free for All having missed a Bonanza start. Ashley Locaz was brave again after being parked in Thefixer’s race and has come through it in his usual no nonsense style. If Mark had one reservation on the night it was Dream About Me, who, like Princess Tiffany, only flew over on Friday. “She went well enough and she ate up well overnight. But she was on and off the bit-more off than on-so that was something to work on” In a career of many firsts this was the first occasion when All Stars had won four races on one night at Menangle major meeting , though going close on occasions.   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

ALL STAR STALWARTS Jean Feiss and Phil and Glenys Kennard and their syndicate members came up trumps at the successful New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred sales which ended Wednesday outlaying over $1m between them for some choice lots whose careers will be guided from Rolleston. Jean, who spent just over $500,000 bought the most expensive All Star lot going to $170,000 for a Bettor’s Delight colt from a daughter of Beaudiene Babe named Beaudiene Big Time. “I was sure in my own mind he would go north of $150,000 but fortunately he was not too far north” she said. She also paid $100,000 for Stag Party a Bettor’s Delight colt bred on the same cross as Lazarus and from a strongly performing family. At Auckland Jean had parted with $140,000 for a Sweet Lou cold closely related to Smooth Deal, last year’s sale topper who is already a winner. “It was a strong sale at the top end and fairly tough competition though I noticed there seemed to be a lot of passings on the board” Jean said of the Christchurch sale. Kennard Bloodstock, unusually, went to $100,000 for a richly bred trotting colt in Auckland as its major purchase but wasted no time swinging into action yesterday. going to $100,000 for a BEttor’s Delight Priscilla Shard colt closely related to familiar All Stars names like Mighty Cullen and Likemesiah and $90,000 for Arden’s Ace, a colt from former brilliant racemare, Venus Serena. Phil said that he had a few disappointments at the Auckland sale. “We found it quite tough at the top end. One colt in particular we had lined up for the Major Mark syndicate but we couldn’t match the firepower. We are not generally going at the top end of the market for our syndicates” All Stars itself added further to its tally yesterday its sale purchases being largely in the $60-70,000 range except for the Captaintreacherous-Veste colt bought in Auckland for $130,000   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

Champion filly Princess Tiffany has been forced into an NSW Oaks tilt by the conditions of the restricted Nevele R fillies heat at Ashburton next week. Not being eligible for that race has affected her preparation for the 2700m of the Pascoe Northern Oaks and with full support from owners Braeden and Caroline Whitelock and Phil and Margaret Creighton Mark and Natalie have opted for the Australian campaign. The heats for the Oaks (2400m) are on February 23 (next Saturday) and the $A200,000 Oaks is on March 2 the day after the Pascoe Oaks. The Sires Stakes Board have made both the Methven and Ashburton heats Restricted to R70 rating and total earnings of $50,000 “to give middle and lower class fillies more opportunities in the series”. That means the only remaining South Island heats for Princess Tiffany and Kayla Marie are at Addington March 15; Forbury Park March 28 and at Addington 20. All Stars have won three of the last four NSW Oaks through Fight for Glory, Dream About Me and Partyon but was not earlier on the horizon for this year’s fillies. Princess Tiffany leaves next week with other All Stars Sydney aspirants to be confirmed but likely to include Elle Mac and Dream About Me.   Courtesy of All Stars Website http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

A sensational mile victory by Bubbled Up in the Nevele R Fillies Series Heat 2 at Methven last weekend highlighted the success of another of the Breckon Farms harness racing syndicates.  Raced by The Perfect Ten Syndicate, Bubbled Up smashed the clock in a race record 1-55.9 on the grass surface at Mt Harding Raceway on Sunday and in doing so went very close to the 1-55 track record set by top pacer A.G's White Socks in the Green Mile in 2017. Driven by Tim Williams the effort of Bubbled Up was even more remarkable when you consider the filly had to do all the work herself, leading from the outset and also after being pressured hard by the two Robert Dunn trained runners during the race. At the finish the American Ideal filly still had half a length to spare from the speedy Greg and Nina Hope trained Kendra who flashed home late, with third going to another Hope trained runner Mossdale Art. Sundays win was special for Tim Williams as it gave him the milestone of his 400th winner from 3338 lifetime drives. The Perfect Ten Syndicate is the fifth such syndicate established by Ken Breckon of Breckon Farms, following in the footsteps of the already highly successful The Good Sports Syndicate, Super Seven Syndicate, The Top Ten Syndicate and Six of the Best Syndicate. Heat 3 of the Nevele R Fillies Series is at Ashburton on 23rd February with the $140,000 final at Addington on the 10th May. Bubbled Up winning at Methven on Sunday Breckon Farms have 26 yearlings entered for sale at this years inaugural National Standardbred Yearling Sale at Karaka, Auckland on the 18th of February 2019. Three of those yearling fillies are by American Ideal the sire of Bubbled Up. Lot 6 - Needamargarita is a filly by American Ideal from Fellamongstabeauty by Bettor's Delight from the Christian Cullen mare Goodlookinggirl. Lot 6 - Needamargarita Lot 6 - Needamargarita Lot 12 - Allamericanlover is a filly by American Ideal from Goodlookinbabe by Mach Three from from the Christian Cullen mare Goodlookinggirl. Lot 12 - Allamericanlover Lot 12 - Allamericanlover Lot 96, Simply Shaz, an American Ideal filly from Simply Stunning. This filly is a first foal from black type race winning Art Major mare. Lot 96, Simply Shaz American Ideal has produced ten millionaires in North America in total. Four have been fillies including his richest progeny American Jewel 1:48.2s ($1,834,823) and also the champion current North American three-year-old filly of the year Yourmycandygirl 1:48.2 ($1,497,000). American Ideal has produced the winners of over $87 million to date in North America. In New Zealand he is the sire of progeny that has earned $7.5 million to date and in Australia he has progeny earnings of over $10 million to date.  Therefore, American Ideal now belongs to the $100 million club an outstanding achievement. He best performing mare in New Zealand is The Orange Agent ($516,974) and in Australia, American Ideal has produced two millionaires to date. They are Bling It On 1:50.8 ($1,656,656) and Soho Tribeca 1:53.8 ($1,103,374)  Harnesslink Media

In racing, your enemy can very quickly become your friend. Which is just as well for Steven Reid and Star Galleria heading into tonight’s $500,000 Del-Re National A G Hunter Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton, because if they have any chance of winning they might need some help from those enemies. Star Galleria is the speed freak New Zealand pacer who looked like he could be anything back in spring until a moderate campaign saw him diagnosed with an entrapped epiglottis. Since that was operated on Star Galleria has rediscovered his turbo booster, even giving Wrappers Delight a fair start and a beating at Melton last Saturday. That suggested he could win tonight’s great race until the barrier draw suggested he couldn’t. Star Galleria has drawn three on the second line, not a killer blow in itself but the real problem is Inter Dominion champion Tiger Tara drew barrier three, from where he should lead and play catch me if you can. They usually can’t. Sitting on Tiger Tara’s back Star Galleria might have the speed to slingshot a vulnerable version. From the second line he will need help. Enter, the enemy. Actually, two of them. They are Thefixer and Cruz Bromac from the Purdon-Rasmussen stable and, quite incredibly, the last eight times Star Galleria has been beaten the race has been won by a Purdon-Rasmussen horse. But, tonight, they might be his only hope, because all three are likely to settle back and move in the middle stages. “I think that is our best chance, rather than trying to punch through at the start on the back of Tiger Tara,” Reid said. “In those big staying races being out of the early rush can often be a good thing, but if Tiger Tara runs straight to the front we could all be in trouble. “So I hope there is some pressure early and then the Kiwis all move together. Maybe then, if we get the right sit, we have a chance, because I couldn’t be happier with my horse.” Thefixer beat Tiger Tara in the New Zealand Cup, but that was when he hugged the marker pegs and the Tiger had to come wide. Tonight the horseshoe is very much on the other hoof. Unless Group 1 fever strikes a couple of the drivers or Tiger Tara performs below his best, the result might be different too.   Michael Guerin

There is life in the old girl yet.  That is co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen’s view as Dream About Me returns to mares company at Addigton tonight even though she faces a far worse draw than younger, and maybe faster, stablemate Elle Mac.  The pair were two of the stars of the recent Auckland Cup meeting but ended on vastly different notes, Dream About Me below her best in the Auckland Cup the same night Elle Mac set a new national record for 1700m after sitting wide the entire race.  Before that Dream About Me had beaten Elle Mac twice fair and square in mares races at The Park and back to their own sex at Addington tonight, Rasmussen slightly favours Dream About Me again. “I think she has been working well and back at home I think she might have a slight advantage over Elle,” says Rasmussen.  “I know Elle has the better draw but Dream About Me can work in her races. But they are both ready to go well.”  Rasmussen is in Victoria where she will partner Thefixer on what could be a mission impossible in the A$500,000 Hunter Cup at Melton tomorrow night.  While he was brilliant in the Ballarat Cup two weeks ago both he and stablemate Cruz Bromac, along with fellow Kiwi pacer Star Galleria, start from the second line while Tiger Tara is drawn to lead from barrier three in the 2760m mobile.“If Tiger Tara leads and races up to his best form this season we might be running for second and third,” suggests Rasmussen.  “We are really happy with our pair but at his best, when he is in front, Tiger is very very hard to beat, as we saw in the Inter Dominion final.”  But all hope is not lost.  “There are a couple of times this season when he (Tiger Tara) hasn’t raced up to that form and that is what we have to hope for on Saturday night — he doesn’t go as good as he can and we get some luck.”  The All Stars also have a strong four-year-old at Menangle in Sydney, where they expect big improvement from last season’s best three-year-old Chase Auckland in an M0 race.  He blew out when fresh up for a long time last Saturday but has worked better since show looks a far better chance tomorrow night while Ashley Locaz looks set to guarantee himself a place in the A$200,000 Chariots Of Fire on February 16 by winning A$50,000 Hondo Grattan.  “He might even be our best chance in the Chariots of Fire because he is flying at the moment.” Michael Guerin

The top priced lot of the Autumn Mixed sale in Auckland in June, Virgil is a likely starter in one of the earliest two year old races of the southern season after being nominated for Addington on Friday. He finished third in his heat at Rangiora last week behind stablemates Flying Even Bettor and Copperfield and is making strong progress for his fearless owner, Jean Feiss. Jean has topped the National sales in the past two years alone with Jesse Duke and Smooth Deal who both won their debut races at two so Virgil has something to live up to. He is also from the first crop of Sweet Lou whose youngsters will be watched with special interest in his first season. Another son, Shelley Beach, fetched $120,000 at the same sale as Virgil and was exported to Australia but has yet to appear. Virgil is from a family Jean Feiss and All Stars know very well. He is from Pacing Delight an unraced daughter of the well performed Pacing Grace. But those mares have left plenty of action on the tracks with their progeny. Pacing Grace’s first foal, Graceful Way has left Three Ways, Forgotten Highway, Shanway Make Way and Man of Action. She has just landed her first filly foal this season, The next filly to be bred from, Pacing Delight, is the dam of Virgil. A colt foal, Pacing Major was a big winner for All Stars especially as a two year old and was later sold to the United States. The family’s ability to leave early speed has given it a huge boost as emphasis on age group racing has grown. After Pacing Major came a sales topper in All U Need is Faith who has been an impressive performer for Dennis Dunford and a more recent filly foal, Sweet Affinity,is another member of the All Stars team, Meanwhile Pacing Grace had left Linda Grace the dam of Smooth Deal the $230,000 sale topper for Jean who has already won a Young Guns heat. Linda Grace had earlier left Linda Lovegrace a 1.54.8 mr winner in Australia and placed in 1.51.4 in a Harness Jewels at Ashburton for All Stars who won nearly $270,000 including the Group One Caduceus Club Filly Classic.   Courtesy of All Stars Website http://www.allstarsracingstables.com   Race 4 [6:54pm] SBSR DIAMOND CREEK CLASSIC GROUP 2 - 27 APRIL MOBILE PACE  $10,000, 2YO, 1980m    Racebook    TabForm    Gear    Preferential Grid   For 2-year-old pacers. Preferential Barrier Draw Based on: Sex (fillies drawn inside colts and geldings) then Winning Stakes using the track grid. Book Form Age Sex     Name   Rating Draw Hdcp Driver Trainer 1   2 g     The Warrior   MR50 1 Front Ken Barron K M Barron 2   2 c     Laver   MR50 2 Front Gerard O'Reilly G R Dunn 3   2 g     Copperfield   MR50 3 Front Tim Williams M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen 4   2 c     Mongolian Marshal   MR50 4 Front Ricky May P T Court 5   2 c     Noosa Beach   MR50 5 Front Blair Orange K M Barron 6   2 g     Flying Even Bettor   MR50 6 Front Matthew Williamson M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen 7   2 g     Virgil   MR50 7 Front Olivia Thornley(J) M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen

The "bridesmaids" are set to get their chance in Cambridge's race of the season. Because both Jack's Legend and Star Galleria have drawn to try and upset the All Stars apple cart in the $60,000 Waikato Flying Mile on Friday night. The sprint race is the centrepiece of the club's centenary celebrations and has drawn a field worthy of the occasion, with the first ever clash between New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer and last week's Auckland Cup champ Turn It Up. The latter will start a hot favourite after drawing the ace in the mobile mile while Thefixer faces a huge task in his first start for two months after drawing the outside of the eight-horse field. But while Turn It Up will dominate betting, the draws of Jack's Legend (barrier three) and Star Galleria (four) at least suggest some early fireworks. Both have proven Cup bridesmaids to All Stars runners before - Jack's Legend finishing second to Lazarus in last season's New Zealand Cup while Star Galleria was second to Turn It Up last week. But what Jack's Legend and Star Galleria both have is real gate speed and they have also used it before to upset highly favoured Purdon-Rasmussen favourites. Jack's Legend began brilliantly to lead and down Ultimate Machete in the Jewels as a 3-year-old while Star Galleria led and won this race last season defeating Heaven Rocks. And their trainers agree their only chance of beating Turn It Up this Friday is crossing him at the start. "Usually those good horses have good gate speed but we have to have a crack to find out," says Star Galleria's trainer Steven Reid of Turn It Up. "My horse is flying and came through the Auckland Cup great so he will be heading forward and with Jack's Legend in there too at least Turn It Up will have some pressure early." Reid also has Utmost Delight in the race and his pair will then head to Australia to be campaigned in both Victoria and New South Wales. "I want to qualify Utmost Delight for the Ladyship Mile in Sydney so she will contest the Ladyship Cup at Melton on January 26," explains Reid. "Star Galleria will race is a sprint race [Casey Classic] that night and then the Hunter Cup on February 2 and then they both head up to the Miracle Mile meeting at Menangle." Rival trainer Barry Purdon is also hoping Jack's Legend can at least test Turn It Up early and set himself up for an Australian campaign. "He has really good gate speed whereas we haven't seen Mark's horse [Turn It Up] from the mobile all that much so we have to have a look at the start and see how we go." Purdon is eyeing Australia with three of his horses, with Jack's Legend still a chance to chase a Miracle Mile spot in Sydney next month. If he heads there that might increase the chances of exciting filly Belle Of Montana making the trip to Sydney after owner Queensland-based owner Dean Shannon left the decisions between the Northern Oaks at Alexandra Park and the NSW Oaks the same weekend to Purdon. "He said it is up to me so she will race here on February 8 and then we can firm up which Oaks to aim at." Purdon will send 3-year-old pacer Supreme Dominator to the Victoria Derby heats next week, where he will join Another Masterpiece as New Zealand representatives. Michael Guerin

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