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Follow The Stars makes it three straight in Cardigan Bay Stakes Mark Purdon won his eighth Cardigan Bay Stakes in 14 years when favourite Follow The Stars cleaned up in tonight's 2014 edition of the The Group One $100,000 Breckon Farms Young Guns Final at Alexandra Park. Starting from the outside of the front row, Follow The Stars was fortunate to avoid the breakers inside him therefore leaving Purdon no option to avoid the breakers and patiently wait for Jonny B Good and Todd Mitchell to drag him into the race. When Jonny B Good was started to fade Purdon pounced with the $2.10 shot and zoomed to the front at the 500m. From that point it was a matter of catch me if you can. They couldn't. The Art Major colt won easily by 3-1/2 lengths and 1-1/4 lengths in 2:02.92 (mile rate: 1:56.3) with final 800m sprints of 58.3 and 28.6. Express Stride (Tony Herlihy - MNZM) was second, with Bettor Sprits (Philip Butcher) third. Purdon also co-trains Follow The Stars with his partner Natalie Rasmussen. "He's a nice colt and had to be good to win from the outside of the front line. I like him a lot. We will head to Australia with him now for the APG Series in Melbourne in April," Purdon said. It was Follow The Star's third consecutive win since making his winning debut at Alexandra Park on December 13. He also won the $25,000 Group Three Sapling Stakes at Ashburton on February 14. Follow The Stars is owned by Mrs G. J. Kennard, P. I Kennard, N. Pilcher, G. R. Douglas, P. J. Creighton, and Mrs M. C Creighton. He was bred by Lauriston Bloodstock. The bay colt has now won $81,477 Past winners (and times) of the Group One Cardigan Bay Stakes Young Guns Final for 2yo colts & geldings have been: 2013: Cyclone Prince (Todd Mitchell) 2:04.6; 2012: Five Card Draw (Brent Mangos) 2:02.5; 2011: Fly Like An Eagle (Mark Purdon) 2:02.5; 2010: Major Mark (Mark Purdon) 2:04.1; 2009: Anvils Best Ever (Anthony Butt) 2:05.6; 2008: Gotta Go Cullect (Jay Abernethy) 2:03.7; 2007: Steve McQueen (Mark Purdon) 2:06.1; 2006: Gotta Go Cullen (Nicole Molander) 2:05.0. by Duane Ranger  

A superb drive from one of New Zealand's most promising reinsmen ensured victory for second favourite Democrat Party in tonight's Group Two $80,000 Gotta Go Cullen Young Guns Delightful Lady Classic (1700m mobile) for 2-year-old fillies. Zac Butcher might have started from barrier six with the daughter of American Ideal but soon after found himself in the one-one. "She started real well and it was just a matter of luck really," a modest Butcher said. "She was always travelling well and at the top of the straight I thought she would be hard to beat. She doesn't like to let anything get past her once she hits the front," he added. Democrat Party paced the 1700m mobile in a slick 2:02.77. Mile rate: 1:56.2 and final 800m and 400m sectionals in 58 flat and 29.2 seconds. "She's a lovely filly, but still a bit green with a lot of improving to do. She has a really bright future," Butcher said. Democrat Party is trained by Butcher's boss and Hall-Of-Fame conditioner Barry Purdon. He is owned by her breeders F. J. and Mrs K. V. Price. The bay filly has now won two of her three starts and banked $52,400. Past winners (and times) of the Group Two Delightful Lady Classic for 2yo fillies have been: 2013: Angelina Jolie (David Butcher) 2:04.0; 2012: La Norvic De Milo (James Stormont) 2:04.9; 2011: Precious Rose (Zac Butcher) 2:06.5; 2010: Collectable (Nicole Molander) 2:04.9; 2009: Sixpence (Steve Reid) 2:06.1; 2008: World Of Dreams (Maurice McKendry) 2:05.4; 2007: So Deep (Graeme Harris) 2:06.4. By Duane Ranger (Friday March 7, 2014)    

The trainers of Easy On The Eye say the draw nobody usually wants actually improves their chances in Tuesday’s New Zealand Trotting Cup. The speedster was one of the hidden gems in a generally underwhelming Kaikoura Cup on Monday, running on well after being checked into an early gallop. He is still long odds for the Cup, both because he lacks a certain x-factor and has doubts over how much he will enjoy a hard 3200m but co-trainer Simon McMullen is surprisingly upbeat about starting from barrier one. “I think it suits him and we are rapt to get it,” explains McMullen, who trains in partnership with Steven Reid. “He is usually a very good beginner and if he does that again then he might even be the first leader and can roll along and choose who we hand up to, which would probably be Christen Me or Terror To Love. “If we are following them or at worse three deep on the markers he might have a place chance.” McMullen’s enthusiasm is rare as many trainers hate drawing the ace in the Cup, which often has a very long build-up to the tapes being released, meaning the horse who starts from one has to stand the longest. And can then be forced to scoot early to stay handy. But in the case of Easy On The Eye it at least gives him a shot at getting a drag along behind one of the favourites, whose coattail’s have been lucrative this spring. He isn’t the only stable star chasing the big money this week, with Reid campaigning The Gold Ace in New South Wales where he was a brave second fresh-up in a stunning 1:49.4 mile last Saturday. The Gold Ace once again draws poorly in tomorrow night’s A$75,000 Newcastle Mile and probably needs to win one of three lead-up races over the next 15 days to earn a spot in his ultimate aim, the A$750,000 Miracle Mile on November 30. Closer to home the Reid/McMullen camp have been on a roll at Alexandra Park and that should continue tonight in the Breckon Farms Pace with Tiago Bromac. He ranks among the most improved pacers in the north and downed Besotted last Friday, albeit with the advantage of a 20m start. He has an advantage of a different type tonight in race fitness over the likes of Averil’s Quest and Five Card Draw and that, coupled with driver Peter Ferguson’s trademark aggression, suggests he will be very hard to catch again. “He has surprised us the way he has just kept improving and this week is no harder than last Friday so he has to be a huge again,” says McMullen. A potential serious open class player for the summer is Realmein, who should win the opening trot tonight. He has rare speed for a trotter, which was on show when he flashed home late in his seasonal debut last Friday. While he faces a 40m handicap tonight he has only five opponents standing in front of him and if within four lengths on the leader starting the final bend he should win. By Michael Guerin (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)

A very poor low end and an average harness racing price of $29,786 highlighted the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale held at the Karaka Sale ring in South Auckland today (Monday February 18).

That man Sandy Yarndley has done it again. The Waikato harness racing owner-breeder sold the top lot at today's (Monday February 18) Australasia Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka in South Auckland. That sales topper was Lot 38 - Raell's Delight - a Bettor's Delight colt who was the first foal from multiple Group One winning Christian Cullen mare, Lauraella.

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