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Racing Integrity Unit Release  30 May 2018        The Stewards have been advised by the trainers M Purdon and N Rasmussen that the following horses may have been exposed to a possible contamination during their transportation to Cambridge for the Harness Jewels.   Princess Tiffany Stress Factor Funatthebeach Sicario Winterfell Cheerful Bubbled Up Kayla Marie War Dan Delight . The Stewards have therefore ordered swabbing of the horses. The RIU has advised the New Zealand Racing Board, and they have agreed to suspend betting on the races the horses are engaged in.   The results of the testing will not be available until after 4pm on Friday afternoon when a further announcement will be made.    Mike Godber - General Manager                 Nick Ydgren  - Chief Stipendiary Steward   HRNZ

One of New Zealand’s most promising trotters has been bought by one of the legends of the industry just days out from the Harness Jewels. Which means Oscar Bonavena will join the All Stars army for Saturday’s massive meeting at Cambridge. After having looked an outstanding talent in just two start for trainer Phil Williamson the two-year-old colt was sold to former Kiwi now US-based trainer Chris Ryder and the godfather of New Zealand harness racing Roy Purdon. Roy’s son Mark will be the new trainer, with partner Natalie Rasmussen to drive Oscar Bonavena on Saturday in the $125,000 two-year-old trot. “He is a lovely colt and I was very impressed at Addington last start when he finished second to our other horse, Enhance Your Calm,” said Purdon.  “So we are thrilled to get him for Chris and of course for Dad.” While no trainer likes to see a horse as good as Oscar Bonavena leave the stable, Williamson was all smiles yesterday.  “It is a good sale and I hope he turns out to be a champion for them,” said Williamson.  “It is a very good price, which it needed to be as we had a lot of interest in the horse.  “And obviously he is going to a great home.”  Williamson got a kick out of Roy Purdon taking a half share in the son of Majestic Son after he came out to watch Mark trial Oscar Bonavena on Monday.  “I said to Mark at the time, you are not bad having a bloke like him (Roy) come and give you a second opinion.  “But I am thrilled Roy got a share in him, he is the legend after all.”  Usually any horse joining the All Stars days before a group one race would shorten dramatically in the market but with Williamson one of the most highly regarded trainers of trotters in this part of the world, any great price slash for Oscar Bonavena would be an over-reaction. Michael Guerin

A cloud hangs over one of only three previous Jewels winners heading to Cambridge for Saturday's $1.275 million meeting. Because after stopping to a walk at the Pukekohe workouts on Saturday, Partyon will need to pass a vet test on Wednesday to be allowed to start in the four-year-old Diamond. Only Partyon, Enghien and Dizzy Miss Lizzy go into Saturday as past Jewels winners, Partyon's story the most remarkable as she won the two-year-old Diamond two seasons ago at only her second start. While that was a dream result, this week's preparation has turned into a nightmare. She suffered atrial fibrillation at the Pukekohe workouts on Saturday and while many horses recover from that problem and go on to race at, or close to, their peaks at their next start, it is hardly ideal for Partyon. She had only just returned to usual trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen to prepare for the Jewels after an Australian campaign and not only suffered the fibrillation but of course missed the fitness benefits of a proper hit out on Saturday. Purdon is confident she can still make the $150,000 mile but admits the preparation is less than perfect. "The good news is her heart had returned to its normal rhythm by last night (Saturday) and that is one of the most important things," explained the champion trainer. "But we will get her checked out again on Wednesday and make a final decision then. But I think she will still be starting." Partyon already faces a huge task from her second draw in one of the glamour races of the day but that is indicative of what the All Stars are up against on Jewels day. They have 20 horses entered for the meeting and only Winterfell (barrier one) has drawn inside barrier four. "I can't remember us getting a series of draws like this and I can see it being a real issue as it looks a day where not a lot of drivers are going to be handing up," said Purdon. Three final acceptors withdrew yesterday, with Kendra pulling out of the two-year-old Diamond and both Puma Road and Girls On Film withdrawn from the three-year-old Ruby. Michael Guerin

All Stars racing stables grabbed another harness racing Group One tonight when Jesse Duke got over the top of his stablemate and favourite Another Masterpiece to land the spoils in the $170,000 Garrards 2yo Sires Stakes Final. Driven beautifully by co-trainer Mark Purdon, Jesse Duke had to work a bit early to get to the parked position but then had cover from the 700m to the turn as John Dunn attacked the leader Another Masterpiece with his drive Heisenberg.  In the straight Jesse Duke had too much speed for his rivals and got up to beat Another Masterpiece by a head with yet another All Stars runner A Bettor Act running home well for third. Mark Purdon was delighted with the win and said after the race, "He is a good 2yo this one and he got the run to suit. "I had to work a bit more than I wanted early but he has improved and it worked out well. I was probably lucky that John took the sting out of our other one and we managed to capatilise," he said. Jesse Duke paced the 1950m mobile in 2-20.0 and won by a head. The smart colt paced his last 800m in 54.6 with a final 400m in 27.6 seconds.   Harnesslink  Media

Ex New Zealand star pacer Heaven Rocks is having his first North American start this weekend, when he lines up in an open pace at Harrah's Philadelphia in Pennsylvania on Sunday. Heaven Rocks is now trained by Ross Croghan an Australian born reinsman who emigrated to the United States in 1976.  Croghan now ranks among the greats in US harness racing, winning several driving titles and training well over 1000 winners. On Sunday Heaven Rocks has drawn gate 4 in a field of 8 runners for the $30,000 Open series. The race will be run over the mobile mile and the big Rock N Roll Heaven gelding will be driven in his first American start by top reinsman David Miller. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Harness racing trainer Mark Purdon is going to try his hand at training a thoroughbred in the near future. "I have decided its "now or never' training a galloper and I bought one at the May sale at Karaka. He will do a month back at Brighthill Farm who offered him at the sale and then he will come south. Barry enjoyed training the thoroughbreds and I have wanted to have a go. If I don't do it now I probably won't and the timing seems right," he said on the All Stars website  "Actually this colt wasn't my first choice but there is a story behind that. Roy and I were going to the sale but the car broke down in traffic and we ended up having to get it towed home so we didn't make it. My first choice from the catalogue was earlier on and went for a bit more than I wanted to pay. This one was passed in. I had liked the look of him and for $8000 he seemed a reasonable buy to me. Time will tell ! "Earlier Nat and I had an I Am Invincible youngster we bought at the sales in Australia but we didn't really have the time to do it and after it was broken in down here and proved a bit of a handful it ended up at Graeme's (Rogerson). I think it is best known for the day it got to the barrier and bolted over the fence before the race ! I hope this one will be different. I am looking forward to the challenge," he said. ___________________________________________________________________________________________  

Canterbury driver Tim Williams hasn't had too much to do with the Diamond Creek Farm Two Year Old Classic winner A Bettor Act. The colt is trained by Williams employers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen and has run second in it's last three starts for a variety of drivers. Today was Williams first drive on the Bettor's Delight colt and it proved to be a winning one. "Natalie, Mark and Nathan (Purdon) have all driven him. This was my first go and it was a nice day to pick up the drive," he said.  The winning time was a sensational 2-40.6 which was a new track, race, Southland and New Zealand record. The previous Southland record of 2-43.7 was held by last year's Classic winner the ill-fated Aloka. The previous New Zealand record of 2-41.0 was recorded by Mitch Maguire in 2016. "It helped early when the ones inside of us put the foot down and by the time we got to the mile the damage had been done. We were probably lucky we were out of the early burn." Williams took A Bettor Act to the front with 1600 metres to run.  "Once we got to the front he was pretty happy just to roll along. He set a nice clip but I was surprised the overall time was that quick."  He held on easily to beat Memphis Tennessee by two and a half lengths. "He's been a progressive type and each time he's gone to the races there's been a bit of merit in his runs." And when asked about where the colt sits in regards to the Purdon/Rasmussen two year olds, Williams thinks he's right up there. "With a bit of luck he could have won some of his last few starts. There's not much between those good ones. It might come down to barrier draws and who gets the better trip. He's not a Sales Series horse and that's why he was here today." Today's juvenile feature carried Group Three status for the first time and it's stake level was equal to both the Supremacy and Oaks finals. "It's a credit to the club for sticking with this race and bumping the stake up. Because he's not in the Sales Series and is targeting the Harness Jewels this was a good option for him." Tim Williams talking to Jason Teaz, John Stiven (SBSR), Ged Mooar (Nevele R), Nigel Fahy (Alabar) Ann and Ivan Behrnes, (Alabar) and Stacey Markham (Woodlands) - Photo Bruce Stewart. This year's Classic had ten runners in it - the most it's had in i'ts four year history. Seven of the runners were from Southland and John Stiven from Southern Bred Southern Reared said it was great to see so many locals supporting the race. "I'd like to particularly thank Ross Wilson who lined up three runners. It's great to get his support and that's what it's all about," he said. A Bettor Act was bred and is owned by the A Few Good Men Syndicate. He's out of the Christian Cullen mare A Christian Act which was bred by Harness Racing New Zealand Board member Brian Wastney who was on-course today to appreciate the win with the rest of the HRNZ Board members.  Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing  

Australia's buzz filly Shez All Rock heads to the All Stars’ barn on Monday. And she makes the trip having become the first filly to complete the NSW and Victoria Oaks double since the brilliant Jane Ellen way back in 1989. Just for good measure, Shez All Rock smashed the race record winning last Friday night’s $150,000 Group 1 Victoria Oaks narrowly, but oh so impressively. Her 1min55.1sec mile rate for 2240m took 0.6sec off the race record her jointly by Miss Graceland (last year) and Barynya (2014). “I thought she was better going into the final than the heat and knew she’d need to be. I expected a real contest tonight and she got it,” trainer-driver Mark Pitt said. “She had to do a fair bit to get to the front and then we kept rolling when Nostra Villa came up alongside me. “She gave a great kick rounding the home bend and kept finding when the second filly came at me.” Shez All Rock’s lead time was a very fast 43.7sec then she ran through the middle half in 60sec and 28.3sec between the 800-400m. She was still able to reel-off a 28.3sec closing quarter. Emma Stewart’s much-improved filly Speak No Evil improved again of her heat win to sustain a big three-wide around the field and get within a neck of the winner in record time. Although Pitt temporarily hands over the training of Shez All Rock, he will be trackside when she tackles the Group 1 NZ Oaks at Addington for the All Stars barn on May 15. “I’ll be there for sure. I might go to the Jewels as well if she runs there,” he said. Pitt said the plan was for Shez All Rock to return to his stable after the Jewels to chase the Vicbred and Breeders Crown at Melton to round-out the season. Australia’s other top filly, Soho Burning Love, had to be content with yet another minor placing  behind Shez All Rock, but she stormed home late for an eye-catching third in last Friday’s Victoria Oaks. She now seems unlikely to head to the NZ Oaks with owner Rob Watson declaring an intention to take her to the Group 1 WA Oaks at Gloucester Park next Friday night. An NZ trip is tricky for Soho Burning Love as Shez All Rock would surely rate above her for the Aussie invite to the Harness Jewels. That means Soho Burning Love would seemingly have to win the NZ Oaks to earn enough stakemoney to snare a spot in the Jewels. Adam Hamilton

After being good enough to run second to unbeaten stable mate Princess Tiffany last week, honest filly Kayla Marie gained a deserved win in the 2yo fillies feature at Alexandra Park tonight. Kayla Marie was simply too good for the opposition in tonights Group One $150,000 Magness Benrow Sires Stakes final. Driver Natalie Rasmussen settled back early before making a move mid race to land the park position with 700m to go. In the straight Kayla Marie asserted control early in the run home and cruised to the line to win by nearly a length, beating early leader Havtime and driver Zachary Butcher. Natalie was thrilled with the effort and said after the race, "From the draw I was just a little bit lucky they went hard early and I got around them pretty cheaply. "The wee filly felt great in the run tonight and that run last week tightened her up nicely for this evening. "She has been a bit of a bridesmade in her races and really deserved that win tonight," she said. Kayla Marie set a New Zealand record for a 2yo filly, blasting over the 1700m mobile in 2-01.2 which equated to a mile rate of 1-54.7.  The last 800m was cut out in 57.6 and the last 400m in 27.9 seconds. The All Stars Stable also won with smart trotter Winterfell, who easily accounted for a smart field of trotters in the 2018 Breckon Farms Northern Trotting Derby. Natalie Rasmussen drove Winterfell and for the second week in the row he was too strong for runner up Majestic Man who again battled on well for second. Kayla Marie winning the fillies feature   Harnesslink Media  

NSW Oaks winner, Shez All Rock, is all set for a visit to All Stars now after a few issues have been settled as a result of her sale to the United States which added the NZ Oaks to her programme. Mark Purdon was involved in the deal from early on but her move to New Zealand has only now been confirmed after connections baulked at the GST tax situation facing her if she came to New Zealand. "We were at the wedding of Peter Ryder's daughter, Larissa, and Chris had come over from the States for it" Mark said. "He mentioned he was looking for a smart filly and Shez All Rock had impressed me at Menangle so she was my suggestion. The business was done and the idea was for her to race over there in features such as the Vicbred series before going to America and then to send her over here for the NZ Oaks. The catch was that if she came to NZ and then left for America  GST was to be charged and the buyers had already paid GST in Australia and were obviously not happy about paying some more.  If she races here and goes back to Australia that doesn't apply so it was decided to do that. She has some racing coming up over there before coming here but it the intention at this stage for her to race in the Oaks out of our barn" Shez All Rock was  owned and trained by the Pitt family, Mark Pitt and his parents, Mark having selected the filly from the APG sale to be placed with Emma Stewart who did the early work with the filly. By Rock n Roll Heaven whose stud career seems to be enjoying a second chance, she is from a Mach Three-Falcon Seelster-Lordship cross and traces to Heatherlock dam of the outstanding trotter Yankee Loch.  Mark Pitt has handled the filly through her racing career which only comprises five starts going back to September and she did not race at two. She has yet to be further back than second.   Courtesy All Stars Website http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

Trotting sire Muscle Hill produced a notable harness racing quinella at Addington last night, when two of his progeny finished first and second in the Storer Motors (Group 2) New Zealand Trotting Oaks. The winner of the Oaks was the Mark Purdon/Natalie Rasmussen trained Luby Lou (Muscle Hill - Luby Ann), who whistled home in the middle of the track to easily beat the North Island trained Girls On Film (Muscle Hill - Regal Volo) . Run on an easy track, the time for the winner was a very good 2-25.7 for the mobile 1950m, which equated to a 2-00.2 mile rate. Luby Lou is raced by the Breckon Farms (Six of the Best) syndicate who have some high profile owners among their members.   Luby Lou syndicate among whose owners are Trevor Casey (left) and partner Kate Marriot, and Glenys Kennard (left foreground ) and husband Phil, extreme right. Mrs and Reg Storer, sponsors of the Trotting Oaks also feature.  - photo All Stars Stable The run of Luby Lou was so good tonight she would not be out of place in the 3yo Trotters Derby field, although Mark Purdon said on the All Stars website, "I'm not quite convinced about Luby Lou tackling the male youngsters in the Derby yet." "She was very good tonight and has a heap of potential but in an ideal world I would probably look at keeping her to her own sex at this stage. I want to assess how she comes through the race and what the opposition looks like before I committed to the Derby." he said. The All Stars Stable also produced Jesse Duke to beat the stable-mate A Bettor Act in Heat 2 of the 2yo Sires Stakes and then trained the trifecta in the Group 2 Vero Flying takes won by Sicario from Anthem (2nd) and Funonthebeach (3rd). Luby Lou winning the Trotting Oaks   Harnesslink Media

Bill Feiss is a man of many parts and he may not have been entirely joking when he noted at Addington  on Friday that he might approach wife Jean to add his name in the book to Jesse Duke.  Bill was responding to the habit of the Feiss's to race their horses under separate names even though they are essentially a partnership. The policy may well have cost them Owners of the Year in the past and might again this year. "It is not that big a deal though we were runners up as leading owners at Moonee Valley a few times years ago. We couldn't beat the Knights" Bill said In those days Jean was training the team herself along with son Matthew Last season Jean raced the best two year old filly and the best three year old filly and Vincent was Bill's star. Nobody would quibble with the connections of Lazarus being Owners of the Year but the Feiss partnership has built an astonishing strike rate in a relatively short time.  Jean has added considerably too to Yearling Sales turnover. She has bought  four sale toppers as yearlings just in recent years and the three to race, Vincent, Sicario and Jesse Duke have all made their mark.  Bill is hopeful about the racing future of Vincent after his stem cell operation.  "The op went well and and he has been boxed since. Now he goes into a yard and then into a paddock and he will be exercised every day. Its a long process and hopefully it will work out. The problem is that he is a colt and he is putting weight on. WE have to keep on top of that" Back in Rolleston Vincent will continue light exercise. Like his dad, Roy, Mark is sceptical of the lengthy spell originally prescribed for Vincent "I haven't had much luck bringing horses with suspensory problems back from long spells " Mark said. Most recently he was probably thinking of  the hugely talented Didjamakem Bolt who did everything by the book (including exercise and a long buildup)  but either  failed to  survive the final stages of a race preparation or had a brief racing return before experiencing further problems.  "It's never easy to get them back when they are racing at the highest level" Bill said  "But he is good enough to try and he is a sensible horse which helps" Bill and Jean were at Alexandra Park for the memorable Group One wins with Elle Mac and Jesse Duke last week and  had a tiki tour of the country driving down from Auckland during the week to watch Elle Mac score in the Nevele R heat on Friday. It would be fair to say that Bill, once a rarer visitor on this side of the Tasman where Jean is a devoted follower of her racing team, has become a more regular traveller lately. In the meantime check the ownership of Jesse Duke. Bill's name might work its way into the  book-and he will be even more regular then ! Courtesy of All Stars website http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

Top harness racing 3yo Chase Auckland has been pulled from the New Zealand Derby field after suffering a leg injury. The Purdon/Rasmussen trained gelding has curbed a hock meaning he will not get a chance to emulate his sire Auckland Reactor by adding the New Zealand Derby to his already impressive resume. “He has a curb and we will give him about three weeks off now and assess where we are with him,” said Natalie Rasmussen on the All Stars stable website. “If all goes well he could be got up for the Harness Jewels otherwise he will have a long break with an eye to the Cup meeting in November maybe. “It is bad luck from a timing viewpoint, though the owners have had a good run with him so far and these things are always a possibility. “We have some other nice three-year-olds to tackle the Derby but he will certainly be missed.” Natalie Rasmussen The All Stars team will still be well represented in the derby with four runners still nominated for the race including the now TAB favourite Sicario along with Tennyson Bromac, Funatthebeach and Anthem who all won their respective races at Addington on Friday night.   Harnesslink Media    

Try and not let a glaze come over your eyes but the harness racing All Stars team just keeps setting records. And they get more extraordinary even by the week. Last week the stable posted 10 wins from 10 races competed in. If that had ever happened before it was rare indeed. But five days later the score is 17 races and 17 successive wins. You can bet your  pyjamas that hasn't happened in any professional stable before. But that, as they say, is not all. Seven wins at Addington on Friday night is not a new  record in itself amazing as it might be. But it is if you consider it was a 10 race progamme. All Stars's previous 7 win records have been set on  12 race programmes. Never easy. But a little easier than a 10 race programme even if it not a Premier meeting as the others were  As is occasionally brought out driver Doug Watts drove seven winners on an eighr race programme at Reefton back in the day. Six of them were trained from one stable but the devil in the detail is that three horses won two races each. To train seven winners at Addington with seven different horses is an astonishing feat. The races were not just a+b=c either. Ohanzee had to work a bit harder than Turn It Up in the running and that made the difference (2.22.9 / 27.7) Anthem had to overcome a difficult draw and drag a puncture for the last round to run 2.22.3 / 28.4 but convincing in the end with game Duplicated third. Enchance Your Calm has, not surprisingly, something to learn about racing according to Mark but  getting some nice sectionals he outclassed his 2yo trot opponents while Elle Mac chalking up a second stable quinella with Bettor Trix, didn't run great time but ran a great race winning easily in the end after doing her fair share of work in 2.23.1 /27.8. Winterfell took advantage of stablemate Stress Factor's keenness to get on with the job trailing on the outer and just being too strong for Mark over the final stages in a very good 2.25.7 /29.3  before Funatthebeach really stood up in the open race left sitting parked and giving Alta Orlando the trail but fighting off the older former G1 winner with a game display in 2.23.5 but home in 26.6!. Then Tim joined the party with Tennyson Bromac also sitting parked and still too strong over a G1 placegetter in 2.22.1  /27.7  which was actually the fastest time of the night Courtesy of All Stars Stable website http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/ Turn It Up Anthem Enhance Your Calm Elle Mac Winterfell Funatthebeach Tennyson Bromac

Sensational harness racing 3yo Chase Auckland was back in winning form tonight, easily winning the $235,000 Woodlands Stud Northern Derby in race and New Zealand record time.  The imposing son of Auckland Reactor has now won eight races from nine starts this season, with his only defeat coming last week, when he was beaten by stablemate Sicario in the Derby prelude. Sicario ran second tonight giving trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen the Derby quinella. Chase Auckland (Auckland Reactor - Delicata) did not get it easy in tonights race and had to work hard to get to the front. However once getting there he never looked like getting headed and he cruised to victory in 3:16.8 for the 2700m mobile. Driver Natalie Rasmussen was full of praise for the 3yo after the race and said, "He raced well wide for a long way and I had to let him settle before committing him to take the front. All credit to the horse, he tried real hard and always felt great in the run."   "He actually felt like he could not get beat when he got to the front."  "It was great to wear the teal pants and win in a race like this," she said. The All Stars Stable had a very successful night also winning with Princess Tiffany and Jesse Duke. Princess Tiffany won the 2yo fillies $80,000 Delightful Lady Classic after sitting parked for the whole trip, while Jesse Duke put in an amazing run when winning the Group One $100,000 Young Guns. The impressive Jesse Duke (Bettor's Delight - Daisy Dundee) looked like he would be unlucky for the second week in a row when he was squeezed and broke early, but he picked himself up and zoomed home out wide from last at the turn to win narrowly in a 1:55.0 mile rate. His run was one of the best 2yo performances seen on the track in recent years. Chase Auckland winning the Derby   Harnesslink Media    

Chase Auckland may be running out of ways to get beaten in tonight's $250,000 Woodlands Northern Derby at Alexandra Park. The son of Auckland Reactor has looked every inch his father's son in his debut season, winning both the Sires' Stakes and Sales Series Pace before tasting defeat for the first time in the Derby prelude last Friday. That was when he was forced to sit parked outside stablemate Sicario and only just failed to grab him in his first start for two months, suggesting he will clearly strip fitter tonight. Even after that defeat the TAB opened Chase Auckland a $1.35 favourite and those taking the short will do so without too many obvious stumbling blocks. Already this crop has been shorn on several key rivals through injury, illness or sales overseas. In the last two weeks first Pat's Delight and then Sicario, with huge Alexandra Park wins, have emerged as genuine Derby threats to Chase Auckland, at least until Monday's barrier draw. Sicario, who may well be as talented as his stablemate on last Friday's run, drew the second line and while he is the only horse there he still looks set to settle closer to last than first. And Pat's Delight fared even worse, drawing the outside of the front line while Chase Auckland drew barrier six. Pat's Delight's trainer Cran Dalgety was pragmatic about the draw. "If we were going into the race as the big dog maybe we could roll the dice and go forward from barrier eight," said Dalgety. "But if we go blasting out and try and lead from there, even if we make the front, we will set the race up for something else." So with his two best credentialed rivals likely settling behind him, Chase Auckland's only major worries should be those in front of him. There are some handy, future open class rivals between him and the lead but only Sheriff would seem any hope of holding him out and even then any desire to do so would be sorely tested if Chase Auckland got serious inside the first lap. More and more, it looks like a Derby he should eventually lead and win. The classic is just one of a stretch of six major races in a row, starting with a small but very even Northern Mares Classic, which could be decided by how hard Delishka has to work. The open trot looks a lottery but CK Spur's manners are so good his improvement curve might continue, especially with the backmarkers not suited by the big field. The southern fillies dominate the Delightful Lady, with Bubbled Up probably the best value since there doesn't seem to be much between her, Princess Tiffany and Kendra. Jesse Duke looks the best of the freshman boys in the Young Guns Final but is still very much learning so maybe not a true multi bet anchor. And the return clash of Jack's Legend and Star Galleria in the City Of Auckland Free-For-All should be a beauty, with the former holding a crucial draw advantage tonight. Star Galleria may be flat out faster than Jack's Legend but if he has to move mid-race to sit parked while Jack's Legend leads then it is advantage Jack's Legend, and at $2.50 fixed he is a good bet. MIchael Guerin

Mark Purdon will be hoping for a second training win in the Miracle Mile on Saturday night and if it happens he will know it has been well earned. So will Natalie. Both could tell you how hard a race it is to win. Bloody hard!. Even by super race standards All Stars has one on the board thanks to HAVE FAITH IN ME driven by Natalie in his fabulous, record shattering  2016 victory over Lennythshark. But both Mark and Natalie have hard luck stories in other runnings of the race. BLACKS A FAKE posted two second placings for Natalie one by half a head. IL VICOLO was twice second also for Mark. The second time, when he went down to Iraklis in December 1996 they set a mile rate which was never bettered in the race while it was run over 1760m, which it was until 2009. JACK CADE trained and driven by Mark was second to Sokyola in 2003 and SMOLDA second to Lennytheshark last year when LAZARUS was third and WAIKIKI BEACH 4th.  That makes six second placings between Mark and Natalie so perhaps Natalie's strike rate won her the drive this year ! The race is also tougher for New Zealand horses to win than you may think especially given the number of superstar horses we have developed i n the last 20 years. Kiwi-trained horses have only won four Miles this century. Holmes D G won his second in 2000, Monkey King won the first mile race nine years later and Christen Me and Have Faith In Me have scored since. The other thing about the Miracle Mile- If you are an avid supporter of the Kiwis and you have heart problems-don't watch. Only one horse has won the race over the mile  by more than 2 metres. Which isn't very far. The last three have been won by short half heads (nose to us) or a head and that tradition looks like continuing on Saturday. Only one  of the mile races has not broken 1.51 and that was when Smoken UP easily beat Karloo Mick and Imamightyquinn back in 2011. There is no fear of a 1.51 mile this year with 1.47 under threat if we get the fireworks many are expecting,    Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables www.allstarsracingstables.com               

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