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The unbeaten pacer Our Waikiki Beach will be out to extend his winning streak to 19 races at Penrith on Thursday night when he competes in a heat of the Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge.  Trained by leading New Zealand horseman Mark Purdon, the Australian bred son of Somebeachsomewhere has only started twice across the Tasman with the gelding having won a dozen of his races at Australia’s premier harness racing track, Tabcorp Park Menangle. Luke McCarthy will drive Our Waikiki Beach on Thursday night, it is the fourth time he has had the honour of driving the star.  Purdon has sat behind him on nine occasions, Natalie Rasmussen four times and John McCarthy and Brent Barclay have had one drive each. Our Waikiki Beach has won four Group 1 races.  As a two year old he won the Australian Pacing Gold, the NSW Breeders Challenge and the Australasian Breeders Crown.  This season he took out the rich New South Wales Derby.  The gelding has won $665,221 in his career and there has never been a faster three year old in the Southern Hemisphere.  Our Waikiki Beach equalled the time set by Border Control of 1:50.6 when he won a race at Menangle in February. Only six standardbreds have won more than 19 consecutive races in Australasia.  San Simeon holds the record with a winning streak of 29.  Lucky Creed, Maori’s Idol and Courage Under Fire won 24 races in a row while Aachen and Lyell Creek won 20.  With a victory on Thursday night Our Waikiki Beach will join Satinover, Hyperstat, Village Kid and Lombo Pocket Watch with 19. When asked to describe Our Waikiki Beach, trainer Mark Purdon is quick to look towards the gelding’s future. “He has all the qualities that suggest he is going to take the next step to compete against the very best horses,” Purdon said. “I wouldn’t say he was a standout as a young horse but we always thought he had plenty of ability. While he is a son of Somebeachsomewhere there is a lot of Bettors Delight in him from his mother and he has a very laid back and relaxed attitude.” Purdon expects to be in Sydney to drive Our Waikiki Beach in a semi final of the Breeders Challenge and will also take the reins in the final. “That’s the plan at this stage.  We’ll see how he gets through the Breeders Challenge, but we are planning on taking him to the Breeders Crown later in the season. “I don’t know whether he should be classed as an Australian or New Zealander because he has only had two starts in New Zealand, maybe the Aussies should claim him because he was born and bred there.” We’ll take him Mark!    Greg Hayes

The $140,000 Nevele R Fillies "Series 38" Final highlights an amazing day of Harness Racing set to take place at Addington Raceway tomorrow afternoon. The Group 1 event will see the highly talented trio of All Stars fillies clash for the first time. Golden Goddess has been labeled their best chance after the Art Major filly picked up barrier one and the services of Natalie Rasmussen. While Dream About Me who's 12 long winning streak came to an end last week drew barrier 5, it is hard to see her being aloud to roll to the top and dictate with a natural front runner in Golden Goddess drawn inside here. The third of the Purdon/Rasmussen runners is Vic Oaks winner Piccadilly Princess, who continues to improve with racing but drawing the outside of the front row (7) makes it differcult for the daughter of Bettor's Delight. Barry Purdon could upset his brother with his filly Arden's Choice, formally trained by Mark, the daughter of Panspacificflight who has been in super form since shifting north should receive a beautiful trip behind Golden Goddess, while it is unlikely she could upset the three All Stars runners, she is a must have for the trifecta and first 4s. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  The $200,000 PGG Wrightson NZ Yearling Sales 2yo Open Final at Listed level is again dominated by the Purdon/Rasmussen Stables. The All Star's team have seven of the 13 runners engaged and have drawn well with one of their top colt More The Better. The Bettor's Delight colt won the Breckon Farms Young Guns Cardigan Bay Stakes back in March, and with the aid of the ace draw has to talent to push his stakes earnings over $100,000 from just the 8 starts. Smart Northerner Vasari drew well in barrier 4, but it is unlikely that he will be able to find the front where he is most deadly. While i wouldn't write of Bettor Be Gold who is drawn to follow out More The Better and could provide an upset if the favourite was to get plenty of visitors. Andrew Fitzgerald  

If the extra distance of tonight's $100,000 Messenger is the only major question hanging over the head of hot favourite Field Marshal, then trainer Tim Butt is a happy man. Because he says the extra lap of Alexandra Park than what his stable star covered on the way to a brilliant win in the Taylor Mile last Friday shouldn't put punters off. Field Marshal defied the usual Taylor Mile racing pattern by coming from third last at the 1200m mark to loop the field four wide and bolt in, suggesting he has a decent class edge on most he meets tonight. He has been on an impressive improvement curve this season, with a throat operation last year enabling him to show his rare true potential. But his only two defeats this season though have both been at 2600m mobile, when he was outstayed in consecutive starts at Oamakau and Addington in January, at least raising the question of his stamina rating. Butt says he doesn't expect that to undo Field Marshal tonight. "That was a lot earlier in his campaign and while he is a fast horse, he is also a very relaxed horses so I don't think distance will bother him," said Butt. "I know some people might worry because of his past throat problem but it was one of those ones where the operation to fix it either works or it doesn't, and in his case it has." Field Marshal has the gate speed to go forward and try and dominate a race that seems to lack many natural attackers but regardless of where he ends up, he is clearly the horse to beat. My Kiwi Mate should be better over the longer distance and wasn't suited by having to sit parked last Friday so he looks the each way value. Hug The Wind is drawn to be close to the action and warrants respect as does Bettor Spirits in a field where those who don't have to burn too hard early should profit. Earlier in the night it is impossible to go past Spanish Armada in the $150,000 Fillies Sires' Stakes. "She put a line in the sand last week to say she is the best of this crop and I think the draw suits her," says co-trainer Mark Purdon. But Purdon warns there will be little between three-year-old stablemates Dream About Me and Golden Goddess when they resume at Addington tonight. Courtesy of Michael Guerin

Superstar 3yo trotter Marcoola is looking to add the Group 1 Breckon Farms Northern Trotting Derby. Unbeaten in his pervious 6 starts including the NZ Derby, Marcoola was dominate winning basically untouched last week by ¾ Lengths. That was his first start right handed at “The Park”. Drawn well in barrier 2, Marcoola’s main danger appears to be handy Purdon/Rasmussen filly High Gait. The Muscles Yankee’s filly was huge last week after an early mistake cost her plenty of ground. She was seen storming home for co trainer and driver Natalie Rasmussen to finish 4th, only beaten 5L. An improved effort from Wilma’s Mate is expected, even after a early break last week, the Pegasus Spur filly looked to be coming into the race nicely before struggling to handle the last bend. Driver David Butt was unable to let his charge fully extend in the home straight. One of the races of the night, these trotters do battle at 8.14pm. Andrew Fitzgerald

Having placed in the New South Wales classic and finished fourth in the Victorian Group 1, Matthew Craven refuses to give up the dream of being a derby winner with his three-year-old harness racing gelding. The Terang trainer has Cant Refuse drawn in barrier eight for Friday night’s Sky Racing WA Derby at Gloucester Park, and will need to overcome yet another Mark Purdon horse to get the lion’s share of the $200,000 prize. It was Purdon’s Lazarus who took the lead honours in January’s Victoria Derby and his unbeaten stablemate Our Waikiki Beach who won at Menangle, when Cant Refuse was beaten into second by just 1.1m. Lets Chase The Dream, Purdon’s winner of nine races from 18 starts, is favourite for Friday night’s Derby, with Cant Refuse done few favours when drawn eighth. “We are drawn inside the second row and hopefully the one horse (Ideal Tyson) will come out and we can end up, at worst, third on the fence line,” Craven said. “At least he won’t have to work as hard across the trip. We are not expecting to win from that draw, but with any luck we may be able to run into a place.” He said the list of threats was long in the Group 1. “Lets Chase The Dream is a top horse, Chicago Bull, Sprinter and Dodolicious – it is a pretty stong race,” Craven said.  “I am just hoping for an easy trip and to have a run at them.” The WA Derby takes place at 8.30pm on Friday. Michael Howard 

The plans of a three-year-old filly from Terang to tip out one of Australasia’s finest were given a boost when she drew gate two for Saturday night's $150,000 Nevele R  Victoria Oaks final.Matthew Craven’s pacer Im Wrongly Accused entered the Nevele R Stud Victoria Oaks conversation with a dash down the sprint lane at Tabcorp Park Melton in Friday night’s heats, which secured the three-year-old a place in harness racing's Nevele R  Group 1 Oaks The performance has Im Wrongly Accused shaping as a threat to Mark Purdon’s all-conquering New Zealand All Stars stable, which already has the Victoria Derby in its keeping and is looking to add the Oaks via short-priced favourite A Piccadilly Princess. Purdon’s filly won the third and final heat, following on from Heavens Trend – out of Emma Stewart’s Smythes Creek stable – who won an enthralling duel with Dancingwithsierra in the first heat, while the second heat was snaffled by Im Wrongly Accused. RELIVE ALL THE RESULTS AND RACE REPLAYS The draw did few favours for Purdon, whose filly was slated for barrier 13. Heavens Trend drew barrier three and Gary Hoban's fancied runner Dancingwithsierra barrier 12. It all bodes for a ripping race on Saturday night, when Craven's pacer will hope to emulate last week's heat, when she got the perfect sit behind favourite Celebrity Guest - who has drawn barrier one - and surprised even her own trainer-driver with how sharply she finished off. “She has improved, but is still a little bit from being fit,” Craven said. “The scratching (All In Your Hands) helped and we were able to just put her out behind the favourite.” Driver Gavin Lang drove Celebrity Guest to a 47.7 lead time, 2.3 seconds slower than the other two heats, and eased through comfortable first (31.9s) and second (30.3) quarters before they started to stretch out to get home in 55 seconds. Once the sprint lane opened Craven eased off Celebrity Guest’s back and Im Wrongly Accused did the rest. “She probably finished off better than I thought she might have been able to. I was really pleased with the run,” he said. “She had a good run and got the chance to use her really nice speed. They went slow early and it was just ideal for her.” Craven said Im Wrongly Accused would have to continue her upward trend if she was to be in the finish. “She’s had to take a step up in the heats and will have to take a step up again for the final,” he said. Michael Howard  

A Piccadilly Princess took her chance in Friday's  harness racing Oaks heat at Tabcorp Park Melton and the result, an advance token to next Saturday night’s Nevele R Stud  Victoria Oaks Final. Mark Purdon’s Bettors Delight out of Hyde Park Royal filly was the fastest of the three heat winners, and her rivals might need a get out of jail free card, maybe in the shape of a poor barrier draw for the All Stars pacer, if they’re to upstage her in the big game. But despite the effortless nature of her heat win A Piccadilly Princess doesn’t have a monopoly on the final with Locals Heavens Trend and Dancingwithsierra, who ran one-two in their Oaks heat, to be major players, while Matthew Craven’s improving filly Im Wrongly Accused looms as a potential dark horse after her heat win. A Piccadilly Princess didn’t quite do it from start to finish on Friday night, crossed early by Flojos Gold before moving to the lead at the 1800m, but once in front she was unstoppable – her last 1200m divvied up by 29.5, 27.4 and 27.8 splits. Her winning time of 2:41.9 was the fastest of the three Oaks heats by .7 of a second, but the ease with which she got the job done – and her impressive Northern Oaks win recently in New Zealand – will have many punters pinning their hopes on the Purdon filly in next weekend’s $150,000 Group 1 final. Smythes Creek filly Heavens Trend won her Oaks heat in a gross time of 2:42.6 and a mile rate of 1:56.8. The Emma Stewart-trained daughter of Rock n Roll Heaven out of Trendsetter defeated another highly rated pacer in Dancingwithsierra in Friday night’s heats. Heavens Trend rolled past Dancingwithsierra early and the pair drew away in the straight with Dancingwithsierra making a late dive but Heavens Trend holding on by a half-neck. Both look live chances in the final. WATCH THE OAKS HEAT REPLAYS AND CHECK OUT THE RESULTS IN FULL DETAIL Im Wrongly Accused (Bettor's Delight out of Gross Misconduct) was the other heat winner, her winning time the slowest of the three qualifiers – 2:44.9 gross and 1:58.5 mile rate – but she sprinted sharply along the sprint lane and looked professional to topple Celebrity Guest. This heat actually produced the fastest final 800m (55secs) and trainer/driver Craven will be pleased with how his filly is progressing since joining his stable from New Zealand. Cody Winnell

Champion harness racing reinsman Chris Lewis received a surprise telephone call from Christchurch yesterday (Tuesday) when leading New Zealand trainer Mark Purdon asked him to drive superstar colt Lets Chase The Dream in the Smorgasbord WA Derby Prelude at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The son of Bettor's Delight arrived in Perth by air on Monday and is the nominal favourite for the $200,000 WA Derby over 2536m the following Friday night. “I’m looking forward to driving such a good horse,” Lewis said. “Most of Purdon’s horses are pretty relaxed and laid-back and this colt should’ve travelled over okay from New Zealand.” Lets Chase The Dream has drawn the inside barrier on the back line in Friday’s 2130m event, perhaps leaving Lewis in a quandary whether to take the sit behind the polemarker and speedy frontrunner Overboard Again and hoping for the opportunity to get into the clear during the race or to restrain the colt in the early stages and get him off the pegs. “Purdon is certainly a great trainer and I haven’t yet had a chance to discuss tactics with him,” Lewis said. “I would have liked to have drawn anywhere else than the inside of the back line.” Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen have prepared Lets Chase The Dream for his 17 starts in New Zealand for eight wins, three seconds and three thirds for $338,246 in prizemoney. Rasmussen has driven the colt 15 times for seven wins and six placings. As a two-year-old Lets Chase The Dream won two group 1 classics, the $100,000 Young Guns Cardigan Bay Stakes over 1700m at Alexandra Park  and the $156,400 NZ Sires Stakes over 1950m at Addington. He beat champion colt Lazarus by a neck at Alexandra Park and defeated stablemates Motu Premier and Lazarus at Addington. He has finished second to Lazarus in three group 1 classics as a three-year-old this season, the 1950m Sires Stakes at Addington, the 2200m NZ Yearling Sales Series final at Alexandra Park and the 2700m Northern Derby at Alexandra Park at his most recent outing, on March 11. Lets Chase The Dream began fast from barrier six at his latest appearance and raced three wide early and then in the breeze before taking the lead after 600m. Rasmussen then opted to take the sit behind Lazarus, who sprinted over the final 800m in 55.3sec. and the last 400m in 27.6sec. He rated 1.57.4. Leading WA reinsman Gary Hall jun., who will handle the brilliant Chicago Bull in the Derby final, said that Lets Chase The Dream looked the pacer to beat in the Derby final, but considered he was slightly vulnerable in Friday night’s prelude from the awkward drawn on the inside of the back line at his first Australian run, only four days after the flight from New Zealand. “You would imagine that whatever Lets Chase The Dream does this week, he will improve on,” he said. “If he goes back and then around the whole field and goes 1.56 or better and wins easily, you would say that the Derby is over. I’d like to think that he is beatable first-up here.” Hall will drive New Zealand-bred gelding Mach Time in the prelude. Mach Time, trained by Gary Hall sen., will start from the No. 4 barrier on the front line. The gelding won at five of his 16 starts in New Zealand and made an excellent Australian debut when he began speedily from the No. 5 barrier and set a solid pace before sprinting the final quarter in 27.1sec. to beat Nitro Lad by two lengths over 2100m at Bunbury last Saturday night. He won at his final two outings in New Zealand, over 2200m and 2700m at Cambridge on December 24 and January 1, respectively. He revealed tremendous early speed from the back line on December 24 to take the lead after 250m before setting the pace and defeating Mastercraftsman.  Then at his most recent outing he started from the back line and mustered great early pace to settle in third position before taking the lead after 600m. “Mach Time will improve a lot off his first-up win in Bunbury,” Hall said. “He’s got good gate speed, but I won’t be able to cross Overboard Again, who ran a great trial at Byford on Sunday morning. He worked his way to the front and just ran. He won by more than eight lengths from Stroganoff, rating 1.56.3 over 2130m on a track which wasn’t overly quick. “Mach Time can win on Friday night, particularly if her raced one-out and one-back, with Lets Chase The Dream in the breeze and putting a heap of pressure on the leader.” Clint Hall will be in the sulky behind Overboard Again, who has had only two starts, for a fifth behind Vanquished over 2000m at Otago on January 2 when he finished strongly from tenth, and a three-length victory over Crackamoa in a 2000m event at the Northern Southland Club in Gore on January 14 when he was untroubled to set the pace from barrier two. Ideal Tyson, a winner at nine of his 16 starts for Pinjarra trainer Gary Elson, will start from barrier five with Nathan Turvey in the sulky. The colt warmed up for this week’s assignment with an effortless trial win, rating 1.55.9 over 2185m at Pinjarra on Sunday morning. Banjup trainer Colin Brown fared poorly in the draw, with Just Get On Black drawing the outside (barrier No. 9) on the front line and Franco Rayner drawing barrier six. Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice was disappointed when Natural Disaster drew out wide at barrier seven. But he has not given up in his quest to qualify the gelding for the Derby final. “It’s going to be tough from the draw, but I think he went sensational at his latest run (when he started from barrier six and finished powerfully to be second to Johnny Disco in the Country Derby at Pinjarra on March 21),” Prentice said. “He’s got the motor to run the 2536m of the Derby final. I’m disappointed he didn’t get a run in the Western Gateway Pace last week and hopefully he proves that he deserves a Derby start.” by Ken Casellas Fields for Gloucester Park, Friday 08 April 2016 Form guide for Gloucester Park, Friday 08 April 2016

The second $18,700 Sires Stakes heat for two year old fillies was held at the Easter harness racing meeting at Addington Raceway last night and in a surprise upset for many on course, the very well performed Delightful Memphis lost her unbeaten record. Driver Blair Orange was very bullish about the chances of Delightful Memphis prior to the race, stating he thought she had an edge over the four All Stars runners in the heat. " On what I have seen around the trials and on raceday, I think Delightful Memphis has got an edge on the competition and should win," Blair said. When Mark Purdon was going through the chances of his four runners in the heat on Trackside, he made the observation about how pleased he was with the run of Renske B at Invercargill when she ran second to Delightful Memphis. " Renske B was parked the whole way at Invercargill with Delightful Memphis on her back." " I thought if you switched the runs the two fillies got, that Renske B would have come out on top, Mark said. And that is exactly what happened last night. Flying Miss Mac and Dexter Dunn worked to the lead after 300 metres and that left Delightful Memphis facing the breeze, which she had to do for the whole race. Hard on her back was Renske B and Tim Williams and as they turned for home, Tim eased her out and slowly but surely took ground off Delightful Memphis and grabbed her just short of the winning post for a memorable victory. The margin of half a neck could have been a lot healthier if Renske B hadn't laid in badly a couple of times in the straight, costing her ground and momentum both times. The daughter of Mach Three has been a model of consisitentcy throughout her brief racing career with last nights win her second from just four starts and along with two placings took her stake earnings over the $29,000 mark. She paced the 1950 metres last night in 2:25.2, a mile rate of 1:59.9 with smart closing sectionals of 56.5 and 27.8 Delightful Memphis lost no friends in defeat with such a game effort while Smiley Sophie made a promising debut in running into third late. At this stage there doesn't appear to be a lot between Delightful Memphis and Renske B and as last night race showed, it may be the draw that decides a lot of their clashes in the next few weeks. Harnesslink Media

The first crop of yearlings by the harness racing superstar Auckland Reactor have hit the yearling sales throughout Australasia over the last six weeks and have been very well received by buyers on both sides of the Tasman. Mark Purdon has no sentimentality at all when it comes to buying horses, often overlooking close relatives of horses that have been superstars for the All Stars barn. Therefore to see Mark purchase three Auckland Reactors at the yearling sales in New Zealand was a very positive endorsement of the son of Mach Three as Mark Purdon is widely regarded as the best judge in the yearling sales market in Australasia. Today at the Bathurst Gold Crown Sale at the Bathurst Showgrounds, Auckland Reactor has three yearlings for sale and we will do a quick review of all of them. LOT 75 - Colt by Auckland Reactor from The Warp Legacy by Legacy Of Power The dam is a half sister to a former topliner in The Warp Drive 1:56.7 ($464,971) and she is from a very strong New Zealand family in Norice. This branch of the Norice family has been incredibly strong over the last 40 years and continues to produce elite level juveniles season after season who go on to be stars as aged horses. Two of the latest would be Caesars Folly 1:52.4 ($350,335) and O' Baby 1:54.8 ($333,034) and another three year old close up in this pedigree in Code Black 1:54.8 ($79,082) looks to have a very bright future. LOT 76  - A colt by Auckland Reactor from the Northern Lights mare in Lady Lara Lombo($51,120) The dam Lady Lara Lombo already has already produced three winners including  Lord Lombo1:56 ($211,961) and she is a half sister to ten winners including the outstanding Lombo Skyrider 1:50 ($841,611) The third dam is none other than the former Australian Broodmare Of The Year in Misty Maiden who is the dam of course of Lombo Pocket Watch 1:53.6 ($1,522,638) and the grand-dam of Suave Stuey Lombo 1:49.6 ($598,332) As a maternal family on a pedigree page it just doesn't read any better than Lot 76 and he should be keenly sought after by buyers. LOT 77  -  A colt by Auckland Reactor from the Panorama mare Aldebaran 1:55.6 ($154,289) The first foal from Aldebaran in The Hairy Huntsman 2:00.8 has already won three races to date so the mare is on her way in the broodmare barn. Aldebaran was a high class racemare in her own right and was a half sister to another speedy mare who raced in Queensland in Rodandthe Nights 1:55.4 The third dam Casino Wiper produced another very talented type in Play The Line 1:56.8 ($133,360) who won the Queensland Triad at four (Group 2). His pedigree page is not in the same league as that of Lot 76 but it has shown the ability to leave $100,000 winners which is a big plus. There are two other yearlings by first season sires in the Bathurst Gold Sale. LOT 119  -  A filly by We Will See 1:47.4 ($2,553,948) from the Artiscape mare I'M Off Limits. I'm Off Limits only has four foals old enough to race and has produced three winners to date including the high class race filly in Sally Fletcher 1:56.1 ($92,690) The grand dam Miss Burnside comes from a prolific New Zealand family which is noted for producing elite level fillies and mares. As you can see on the pedigree page another elite level filly in Carpenters Daughter 1:56.1 ($293,378) is closely related to Lot 119 LOT 28 -  A colt by Smiling Shard from the race winning Sports Town mare in Mylady Tess This colt is only the second foal produced by Mylady Tess who is a half sister to nine winners including such standout types as Heathbern Diamond 1:55.4 ($201,830), Turbo Tyson 1:56.4 ($143,527) and Mac Strike 2:00.6 ($126,195) to name just three. With all those winners up close in his pedigree, you would imagine that lot 28 has a big chance of adding to the great record his maternal family have established in the last 25 years Harnesslink Media

Well known Victorian harness racing identity Jean Feiss has had a weekend to remember with her brilliant two year old filly Spanish Armarda winning the $80,000 Delightful Lady final for two year old fillies at Alexandra Park and her star three year old Chase The Dream running second to Lazarus in the Woodlands Northern Derby later on the same programme.   Early this morning Jean was a plane to Invercargill via a couple of stops to watch her two year old colt Vincent make a winning debut in the Fight For Glory mobile pace for two year olds at the Northern Southland meeting held at Ascot Park.   Settling back in the seven horse field, Mark Purdon looped the field with Vincent with just over a lap to go and grabbed the front and from there it was just a matter of what he was going to win by.   At the finish he had one and a half lengths to spare from stablemate Mr Kalypso with the other All Star runner Ultimate Machete a nose away in third for an All Star trifecta.   Vincent paced the 2200 metres in 2:44.4 which was just three tenths of a second outside of the track record for a two year old.   Vincent paced his closing sectionals in 58 and 27.1 and seemed to do it with a bit still left in the tank.   Jean was thrilled with the win.   “Mark was really positive when discussing his chances today and he raced accordingly.”   “Being bred in Australia and purchased through the sales there, Vincent is eligible for both the Australian Pacing Gold and the Australasian Breeders Crown and today he was on trial to see if he should be making the trip.”   “I think he is a good chance of making the trip after that run,” Jean said.     Vincent isn't the only horse that Jean had racing at Ascot Park today.   “I have MacKenzie and Benicio in later in the day and both would be leading chances,” Jean said.   Note: Mackenzie was an easy winner.   Even though Jean is having a great run on the track with her juveniles it is not on the back of huge numbers.   “We only own three two year olds with Spanish Armarda and Vincent being two of them.”   “The other juvenile is Riccardo who is just back in work at All Stars now after being gelded and is showing a lot of promise,” Jean said.   It is not uncommon to see Jean at tracks throughout New Zealand following her horses and her enthusiasm for harness racing is there for everyone to see.  Jean is not there for the money but for the thrill of winning a race and it is very refreshing to see in 2016.   Harnesslink Media

It has not been that often in the last few years that you would see the harness racing maestro Roy Purdon at Alexandra Park. Age and wear and tear affects the best of us and the 89 year old has preferred the comfort of his armchair at home as he has followed his sons Mark and Barry winning races from one end of the country to the other. In the last few weeks however, Roy has been sighted at  Alexandra Park more than once and it is all down to the generosity of his son Mark. Mark outlaid $62,500 at the 2015 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale for a Bettor's Delight colt named More The Better and promptly gifted a half share in the striking looking colt to his father Roy. Roy decided to bring his longtime friend David Levine into the ownership and the partnership of three has not looked back from that day. Last night More The Better went into the $100,000 Young Guns Final at Alexandra Park a close second favourite behind his stablemate Pacing Major and once again the two star two year olds fought out the finish. Mark sent More The Better forward from barrier four to grab an early lead from Pacing Major and that really was the winning of the race. Allowed to dictate terms in front, Mark got away with a couple of soft quarters during the race including a 29 effort between the 800 metres and the 400 metres before brushing home in a sizzling 26.8 for the last quarter. Pacing Major made up a wee bit of ground in the last 400 metres on the stablemate but not enough to trouble More The Better in front who still had half a length to spare at the finish with the Paul Court trained Mongolian Hero a further 6 3/4 lengths in third. More The Better paced the 1700 metres in 2:04.4, a mile rate of 1:57.8 with closing sectionals of 55.8 and 26.8 The win last night took More The Better's two year old record to 3 wins and 3 seconds from 6 starts for stakes totaling $83,385 with a best time to date of 1:53.6 Come the photo after the win last night and there was no sign of Roy. "Dad and Neil Pilcher are guests of the Club tonight on the top floor." " I think to get down here for the photo they would have had to make a start before the the last race" Mark quipped. But that wouldn't have worried Roy in the least who unbelievably was posting his first Group 1 winner as an owner and his longtime friend David Levine, who has been able to share in that thrill with him which has made it all that more special. The next time More The Better is seen on a racetrack will be in the South Island and it wouldn't be a surprise to see his excited part owners on track to watch him. Harnesslink Media  

Harness racing three year old Lazarus has looked the benchmark amongst his age group in New Zealand all season and the Woodlands Northern Derby last night at Alexandra Park was no different with Lazarus showing once again that he is in a class of his own. Fresh up since his Victoria Derby win on January 30 and coming back from a very minor injury scare, Lazarus was simply a class above the field as his winning margin of 4 1/2 lengths would suggest. After drawing perfectly at barrier two, all the pundits thought driver Mark Purdon would grab an early lead with the star colt but Mark restrained him early. " "There was a lot of speed early and I had the option to hold my ground until things settled down," Mark said. Working to the front after 700 metres, Lazarus was never in any trouble from then on. Even though he had Chase The Dream hard on his back on the final turn, Lazarus simply ran away and hid by 4 1/2 lengths from stablemate Chase The Dream with another 2 1/4 lengths back to Walkinshaw in third, just ahead of a very game Buster Bailey who looped the field from last and stuck on very gamely for fourth. Such was his dominance, Purdon was able to let Lazarus cruise to the line under his own steam. Lazarus paced the 2700 metres in 3:17.1, a mile rate of 1:57.4 with quick closing sectionals of 55.3 and 27.6 which was just one tenth of a second outside of the race and New Zealand record set by Sushi Sushi in the 2011 Northern Derby "He could have broken the record if I knew we were that close."  "He's a class act, just a really professional race horse," Mark said. Last nights victory was the seventh this season from seven starts for the son of Bettor's Delight and Mark Purdon has only got a handful more planned for his star colt this season. " He will take in the New Zealand Derby at Addington and then the Harness Jewels at Cambridge and that might be enough for this season," Mark said. Lazarus has already won $767,000 in his short career to date and if he wins his remaining two big targets this season he will be very close to becoming a millionaire as a three year old. Harnesslink Media  

The last heat of the Young Guns Series at the harness racing meeting at Alexandra Park tonight only had seven runners but it looked a very even race on paper with as many as five good chances. The All Star duo of Pacing Major and More The Better had the form on the board down south but they had both been beaten on their first visit to Alexandra Park and there was the a question mark about them heading into tonight. But as has become the norm for All Stars runners, as you get deeper into the season, the better they get. More Than Better with Mark Purdon in the bike had an early burn for the lead but Vasari and David Butcher rebuffed that and held the lead with More The Better slotting into the trail. Pacing Major with Natalie Rasmussen in the bike worked up to the death beside Vasari and applied pressure a long way out and going past the 400 metres it was obvious that the All Star Duo were the horses to beat. Pacing Major went for broke as they straightened for home but More The Better came out onto his back on the corner and swept on by half way way up the straight for a decisive victory. The All Stars duo streeted the rest with the highly rated Mongolian Hero eight lengths away in third and at first you felt the other runners had been a touch disappointing. That was until they announced the times for the 1700 Metres mobile. More The Better had run the journey in a blistering 2:00.4, a mile rate of 1:53.6 with closing sectionals of 56.2 and 28.2. The time smashed the New Zealand record for 1700 metres for colts and geldings held by Fly Like An Eagle by a massive two point one seconds. All season the All Stars juveniles had not looked as dominant as in previous seasons and rival trainers were holding out some hope that this might be the year when they beat them in some of the bigger races. However the foreman for the All Stars barn Duane Marfisi has said all season that he thought this years crop from the All Star barn were as strong if not better than last years juveniles and tonights performance has confirmed that opinion in no uncertain fashion. Next weeks $100,000 final of the Young Guns Series looks a match race between the All Stars duo and the draw will probably decide which of them comes out on top. Harnesslink Media  

Little fish might be sweet but many harness racing fans at Tabcorp Park Menangle today were left thirsting for more. More Smolda that is, after the magnificent son of Courage Under Fire obliterated Global View’s world record of 1:53.4 set in March 2015 in accounting for his rivals in the $100,000 Group One Bohemia Crystal Free-For-All. Smolda (Mark Purdon) rated 1:52.7 for his last mile over the 2400m journey to leave many racegoers wishing he was lining up in the Miracle Mile later that afternoon. After drawing the inside of the second row, Smolda eased in the market just before the jump and looked in danger of being stuck in a pocket behind Major Crocker going up the back the last time. Still when Our Sky Major, trained by Mark’s brother Barry and driven by leading reinsman Blake Fitzpatrick, began to drop off before the home turn after a tough run, Smolda and Mark Purdon found a path away from three-back on the pegs and surged into calculations as they headed for the home turn. Purdon had no hesitation urging Smolda into the death seat and turning for home Smolda finished full of running to account for the surprise packet of the race Iam Mr Brightside (Robert Morris) with Major Crocker (James Rattray) showing something like his best form to hold third after leading. Smolda’s splits for the final mile were 29.5s, 28s, 27.6s and 28s for a 2.7m win and a deserved place in history . . . unfortunately not as a Miracle Mile winner but nonetheless still one of the best horses in Australasia. Purdon couldn’t hide his admiration for the seven-year-old gelding: “It’s a time-honoured race and there’s a lot of great horses here. “He’s a great horse and I knew we were rolling all the way. He felt great in the race and I was worried about our position but the chance came to get off and I had to take it. “This horse means a lot to us. We bought him from Australia and he’s always had a special place in our hearts. “He’s had his problems along the way but he’s come back every time. We just love him.”

Harness racing horses just don’t win 16 races in a row. Yet Our Waikiki Beach is definitely something special and he reached that mark in style with another remarkable win in today’s $$200,000 Coca-Cola Amatil New South Wales Derby at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The three-year-old gelding gave the Mark Purdon stable their third Group One for the day . . . with the Miracle Mile still to come. Driver Natalie Rasmussen explained Our Waikiki Beach only ever did what he had to do to win. And that was the case again today as the son of Somebeachsomewhere held off Cant Refuse (James Rattray) to score by 2.1m with Zee Dana (Nathan Jack) third in a 1:55.5 mile rate. It was a relieved Rasmussen who received the Derby trophy, explaining Our Waikiki Beach had been getting a little bit too fired up at his most recent start which had been a slight concern. “We’ve tried to keep him calm before his race since then,” she said. “But he’s a good boy. He just what he has to do.” And no-one does it better in the three-year-old ranks than Our Waikiki Beach who may yet rival some of the great horses with his unbeaten run. Part-owner Trevor Casey said he never expected to have a ‘second’ horse to win that many in a sequence. “I had something to do with Courage Under Fire, who won 25, but this bloke is now starting to stack up the wins as well,” said Casey. Rasmussen said she always felt Zee Dana (third) would be her biggest danger because he was so impressive in his record heat win. “Amanda Turnbull [trainer] has him flying at the moment,” she said. “But we were confident with our guy. “Mark and I don’t really go out to try and set records like that – we’re just happy if our horses are fit and healthy and going well. “Of course you have to aim for the big Derbys. “And I’d have to be happy with a day like this. They don’t come along every day.”

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