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Mark Purdon is warning punters Dream About Me is no certainty at the Harness Jewels. The winner of 14 races from just 15 starts has been crunched into $1.35 favouritism in the pre-barrier market for the three-year-old Diamond, following her almost unbelievable win in the Group I New Zealand Oaks on Saturday. Purdon, who co-trains the Bettor's Delight filly with Natalie Rasmussen, said the win was easily a career-best performance at Addington Raceway but believes the barrier draws will play a key role in the Group I Jewels on June 4. Dream About Me's form in the Oaks is leading to comparisons with Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen's 2014 New Zealand Trotting Cup winner Adore Me.  And if the winner of more than $750,000 in stakes does draw poorly, Purdon is rejecting speculation that she only has to line up to win. "I wouldn't say that over a mile at Cambridge. The draws will be crucial and the other two fillies (Golden Goddess and Piccadilly Princes) are very good to so you wouldn't want to have too much bad luck," he said. Purdon and Rasmussen along with Dream About Me's owners will not be drawn into a decision on heading across the Tasman for the Breeders Crown until the Jewels are out of the way. "We'll probably make final decisions after the Jewels. "She's had a great season and there are the mares' races for next year so it will come down to whether we go that way (Breeders Crown) or set her for those mares' races here nest season," Purdon said. Dream About Me settled second to last in Saturday's Oaks from her second line draw but with around 1500m to run Purdon was on the move around the field, three wide without cover. It took the pair more than half a lap to get to the breeze in driving rain and windy conditions and Purdon admitted after the race he was questioning whether the filly had enough left in the tank to finish off the 2600m trip. "I thought it would come down to a dour sort of stayers' race and the last furlong would be down to the survival of the toughest and thankfully it turned out she was the toughest." Purdon was helped by the tiring Amazon Lily giving him the opportunity to duck into the trail behind leader Golden Goddess before taking an inside run to win by half a length. "She's just exceptional," Purdon said of Dream About Me. Golden Goddess is a $3.40 chance for the Jewels with the third All Stars stablemate Piccadilly Princess ($6) the only other runner in single figures. The All Stars stable trained the trifecta in the Sires Stakes for two-year-old colts and geldings with More The Better again edging stablemate Pacing Major. More The Better is a $1.80 favourite for the two-year-old Emerald at the Harness Jewels with Pacing Major at $2.50. Titan Banner, a newcomer to the Purdon and Rasmussen stable, has moved into a $2.50 second favourite for the four-year-old Emerald following his upset win over Christen Me in the Winter Cup. Christen Me did start 20m behind Titan Banner, formerly trained by Graeme Anderson, and only went down by a neck. Field Marshal, who is recovering well following a bout of colic last Tuesday, remains Emerald favourite at $1.65.     Purdon and Rasmussen trained six of the 12 winners at Addington with Bettor Be Gold, The Manipulator and Heaven Rocks joining the three feature winners. Purdon drove five winners with Rasmussen picking up one. The All Stars stable then picked up a Group II placing at Menangle when High Gait finished second in the New South Wales Trotting Oaks on Saturday night. Meanwhile, Purdon's son Nathan picked up his first training win on Saturday night when Ohoka Punter, formerly trained by Tony Herlihy, won his the first start of his Queensland campaign. Mat Kermeen

Everything went to plan for the four harness racing big guns tonight at the Auckland Trotting Club's meeting at Alexandra Park. Spanish Armada got things off to a flying start when she was successful in the $138,000.00 Group 1 Magness Benrow Sire Stakes Fillies Championship. Away nicely from barrier 6, co trainer and driver Natalie Rasmussen had the classy 2yo Bettor’s Delight in front and dictating after 300m. No one was keen to take the recent Caduceus Club Final winner on and she was allowed to stride along in front. While some punters who took the $1.30 around the favourite would have been nervous when the Mark Jones trained filly Delightful Memphis popped out of her 1-1 spot to issue a serious challenge, to wear the leader down to just a winner margin of a neck. The winner’s time for the 1700m trip was 2:02.3, Last mile in 1.55.7 – 800m 56.4 – 400m 27.7. The PGG Wrightson Yearling Sales 2yo Fillies Final set down for the 13th May will be the next clash of these two talented fillies. No doubt with a handy draw Delightful Memphis could turn the tables on the top seed Purdon/Rasmussen runner. Spanish Armada _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Tonight’s Breckon Farms Northern Trotting Derby victory for Marcoola once again justified owner/driver Clint Ford’s decision to not sell his star 3yo colt. With an offer reportedly around the $250,000.00 mark, Ford was quick to make it clear that he wouldn’t be for sale. Since that offer Marcoola has won just over $120,000.00 in stakes, while adding the NZ Trotters Derby, Sire Stakes Trotting Championship and now the Northern Trotting Derby to his resume. A 3yo Colt by Champion sire Sundon out of the Ford Family’s handy race mare Arabess – Marcoola is the horse most people dream of breeding and owner themselves. A smart drive from Clint tonight got the chocolates as he once again showcased his class by demolishing a top class field. Allowed to settle early by Ford, Marcoola was then set around to find the top, this move left 2nd favourite High Gait in a world of trouble covered up four back the pegs. In a surprise move, High Gait’s driver Natalie Rasmussen was happy to stay tucked along the rail and was seen storming home for an unlucky 3rd. Marcoola went to the line, with plenty in the tank as Ford only flicked the reins at his charge in the home straight to score by 1 length in an overall time of 3:23.7, Mile rate of 2:01.4 – 800m in 58.2 – 400m in 29.6. The Harness Jewels looks his race to lose on the back of this 7 race winning streak. Marcoola _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Field Marshal was another short favourite to salute the judge, this time doing the sort after Taylor Mile/Messenger double. After a huge performance in last weeks Taylor Mile, Trainer Tim Butt was confident his top class Art Major 4yo would handle every part of the 2700m trip.  Given a lovely trip by leading driver Dexter Dunn, Field Marshal was dominate beating Australia visitor My Kiwi Mate by 1 ¼ Lengths in a sizzling 3:15.8. With tonight’s victory, Field Marshal climbs over the $250,000.00 mark in stakes earnings, with a healthy record of 14 wins from just the 25 starts. While Field Marshal in a clear leader on top of the Harness Jewels leader board, Australian My Kiwi Mate catapulted himself into 22nd spot, just $10,000.00 short of the 12th place Captain Doimio. With connections chasing a jewels spot, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see My Kiwi Mate line up at Alexandra Park over the next few weeks in order to qualify. The 4yo Jewels invite is likely to go to the Amanda Turnbull trained Tact Tate, who will make their decision in the coming days. Field Marshal _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Superstar trotter Monbet was absolutely sensational in the 2016 Rowe Cup, winning from an awkward, inside the back row draw. Trained at Woodend Beach by Greg and Nina Hope, Monbet started one of the hottest favourites in history after arch rival Speeding Spur was stuck down by a suspensory injury that could see him sidelined for 10-12 months. Away nicely from the tapes, Monbet settled in before driver Ricky May sent the $1.11 favourite around to the lead with two laps to run. From there on after the 4yo Love You gelding never looks in danger. Owned by the Hopes and M J Molloy, they also turned down a reported offer of $600,000.00 a few weeks back. Since that offer Monbet has earn't a tidy $184,000.00. Co trainer Greg Hope confirmed last night that providing his charge recovers well they will look to take their place in the Cambridge Harness Jewels, where he will start one of the shortest jewels favourites ever. Waimate trotter Valmagne was the run of the race behind the winner. Co Trainer Josh Kennett was stoked with the performance of his stable star, “He has gone super, last week he broke just as he was getting into it” said Kennett. Monbet Andrew Fitzgerald

The $125,000 Northern Oaks at the harness racing meeting at Alexandra Park tonight looked a two horse race on paper between the All Stars duo of Golden Goddess and Piccadilly Princess and that is exactly how it worked out. Golden Goddess had been flying in her races and was unbeaten in her races this season until a last start defeat by Piccadilly Princess on the grass at Methven. Most pundits were prepared to forgive her that defeat as she didn't look 100% comfortable on the grass and Piccadilly Princess is a high class filly in her own right. The draw for the Oaks looked to have evened up the race again with Piccadilly Princess drawing beautifully at barrier two while Golden Goddess had drawn awkwardly at one on the second line. When the gates folded, Tim Williams sent Piccadilly Princess forward from her handy draw and grabbed the early lead but was immediately put under pressure by Bettor Think Quick and Josh Dickie and they battled for the front for over 250 metres before Josh eased Bettor Think Quick and sat in the death seat. Golden Goddess with Natalie Rasmussen in the bike had been sitting back beyond midfield watching the early battle and as soon as the pace eased, Natalie sent Golden Goddess around the field in search of the lead. Josh Dickie and Bettor Think Quick kicked up for 100 metres to make Golden Goddess work that bit harder as she went forward and Golden Goddess eventually made the front over Piccadilly Princess  with 1400 metres to go. Passing the 500 metres Golden Goddess opened the throttle up and the only filly who could go with her was Piccadilly Princess and these two cleared out from the rest of the field as they turned for home. Slowly but surely Piccadilly Princess leveled up and eased past by half a length late in the race to claim her first Group 1 victory. Golden Goddess was game in defeat in second while the next filly home in Arden's Choice was nine and three quarters lengths away in third. The daughter of Bettor's Delight from the Holmes Hanover mare Hyde Park Royal paced the 2700 metres in a very quick 3:17.9, a mile rate of 1:57.9 with closing sectionals of 57 and 27.9. Piccadilly Princess takes her record to 11 starts for 5 wins and 4 seconds with $129,143 in the bank. It was a new New Zealand record for a three year old filly over 2700 metres, taking nine tenths of a second off the previous record set by by The Orange Agent in last years Northern Oaks. Tim Williams was his usual modest self on returning to the winners circle. " The feeling in the stable was she had closed the gap on Golden Goddess and I am glad she picked tonight to prove it." " We had a good draw and took advantage of it." "I didn't think I would be put under so much pressure for the early lead by Josh and Bettor Think Quick but once Golden Goddess came around and found the front , my filly relaxed beautifully in the trail." " I really want to thank the connections for putting me on tonight" " When I was suspended in December they kept the drive open for me and when I drove the stablemate at Methven instead of Piccadilly Princess they still kept the drive for me tonight." " I can't thank them enough," Tim said. Tim Williams has had a great last 18 months since joining the All Stars team but he has repaid the faith that Natalie and Mark showed in him with some outstanding drives, especially in the Group 1 events. 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  

The New South Wales Derby at Tabcorp Park Menangle is always one of the highlights of the harness racing season in Australia. With its stake money of $200,000 and it being run on the huge day with the Miracle Mile, it tends to draw the best three year olds from all over Australasia and this year was no exception. We had the best from Victoria, New South Wales, Perth and New Zealand in what was a great field of three year olds. The raging favourite was the brilliant Australian bred, New Zealand trained gelding Waikiki Beach who was fifteen from fifteen going into the Derby. However a lot of the competition thought they were closing the gap on the unbeaten star going by his run in the Derby heat last week where he looked vulnerable for the first time in his career. The early fireworks came from Zee Dana who burned the gate from barrier ten to lead after 150 metres for Nathan Jack. Natalie Rasmussen on Waikiki Beach came out of barrier seven and slowly worked around the field to the death seat before taking up the lead at the 1500 metre mark. No sooner had Waikiki Beach got to the front that Cant Refuse and James Rattray came around and sat on his wheel.  Natalie never really upped the tempo until the 600 metres mark but Waikiki Beach couldn't shake Cant Refuse and Zee Dana who were still in contention as they turned for home. All the way up the long Menangle straight, Can't Refuse tried to level up with Waikiki Beach but couldn't but he did manage to keep Zee Dana, who looked to be full of running in a pocket and unable to improve until the race was over. It was a lovely controlled drive by Natalie and ensured that Waikiki Beach continued on his winning way. Waikiki Beach paced the 2400 metres in 2:50.8, a mile rate of 1:55.5 which equaled the race and track record. While the margin again looked narrow, Natalie was more than happy with the performance. “ Being a Somebeachsomewhere means he does have a tendency to get a bit hot so we have been working on him to get him to relax a lot more in his races instead of pressing the go button all the time.” “ For his long term future he needs to settle better in his races and he is starting to do that now.” " If anything he has switched off a bit more than we would like in his last couple but he has only done what he has had too to win both times." "They have got up to him in his last couple but getting past him is another matter," Natalie told Harnesslink post race. His next run could be back in Auckland with a view to racing in the Woodlands Northern Derby where a clash with either Lazarus, Dream About Me or both which would be real coup for the Auckland Trotting Club Harnesslink Media

All the harness racing pundits trying to predict the outcome of this years $750,000 Sew Eurodrive Miracle Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle today agreed on one thing. The margins between the first four leading candidates on paper was so close it became incredibly hard to say with any certainty who would come out on top. Well in one minute, forty seven point five seconds this afternoon, all those questions were well and truly answered. When the dust had settled, boom New Zealand four year old Have Faith In Me had written himself into the record books with a run that will long live in the memories of harness arcing followers in Australasia. As expected the mare Arms Of An Angel from barrier one flew the start and zipped through the first quarter in 26.4 with Beautide and James Rattray on her wheel. Lennytheshark and Chris Alford slotted into a lovely one out trail behind Beautide while Have Faith In Me and Natalie Rasmussen followed Lennytheshark everywhere. Arms Of An Angel kept rolling in front with the next quarter flying by in 27.4 for an opening half of 53.8 and at that speed there was no moves midrace. Incredibly Arms Of An Angel upped the tempo even more down the back straight with a 26.5 quarter and the first to feel the pinch was Beautide, who began to battle at the 400 metres mark. Lennytheshark was quickly out to chase Arms Of An Angel at the top of the straight with Have Faith In Me chasing hard on his back. Half way up the long Menangle straight, Lennytheshark claimed Arms Of An Angel but was immediately challenged by Have Faith In Me and it wasn't until right on the line that the the four year old got his nose in front of a very game Lennytheshark. Arms Of An Angel showed real stamina to stick on for a great third after such a tough run while My Hard Copy from three back inner finished on into fourth. The time of 1:47.5 took 1.6 seconds off the old Miracle Mile race record and is the fastest mile ever run down under. All eight runners in todays Miracle Mile broke 1:50. Natalie Rasmussen was just in awe of what Have Faith In Me had done post race. " This horse is such a big baby still and is a long way from the being complete racehorse, yet he has just run 1:47.5. " He was goofing about at times during the race and paced roughly in the home straight but thats just him at this stage of his career. " I can't believe how good he went considering all the little things he still does wrong during his races." " He will go for a long spell now and I think when he comes back he will be a man and not the boy he is at the moment." " It is hard to imagine how good this horse could be when he finally puts it all together," Natalie told Harnesslink this afternoon. One thing Natalie was sure of was the significance of todays win. " Todays win is a huge career highlight, right up there with some of Blacks A Fakes big wins, Natalie said. Have Faith In Me is by Bettor's Delight and is a full brother to Adore Me 1:47.7 ($1,677,032). He is the twelve foal of the former New Zealand record holder and now champion broodmare Scuse Me 1:53.5, who is by BG's Bunny. Scuse Me has the incredible record of producing 12 foals old enough to race for 12 winners. With today's win Have Faith In Me has now won $1,324,879 from 22 starts, 14 wins 3 seconds and 1 third. The Lennytheshark camp were thrilled with how their horse had gone. Owners Kevin and Mark Riseley were smiling even though they had only been grabbed in the last stride. "He has gone huge and we were thrilled with the performance. "He has broken 1:48 and it has taken a champion sitting on his back to beat him so you can't be disappointed." "We just needed Beautide to take us to the home straight and I think we may have held on but when he stopped at the 400 metres, that left us a bit of a sitting duck." "It was such a great race to be a part of and if we were to be beaten, I am glad it was my other trainers in Mark and Natalie who beat us," Kevin said. Shane Tritton was also upbeat at the run of Arms Of An Angel for third. "Beautide made us work a bit hard early and then again in the second quarter so she never really got a breather."  "That told a bit in the last 200 metres but to hang on and run third was a great effort for such an inexperienced mare." "She has been timed in 1:48.2 and I think there is so much further improvement in Arms Of An Angel that I am already looking forward to next years race with her," Shane said. Todays race was a milestone in harness racing in Australasia. When our major races are being run in 1:47.5 the so called gap between the hemispheres is shrinking quicker than the Arctic. Harnesslink Media

Today at Tabcorp Park Menangle, Dream About Me showed once again why she has yet to be beaten in twelve lifetime starts with a display of power that left a talented field of harness racing three year old fillies with no answers. Away from the tricky draw on the inside of the second line early in the $200,000 New South Wales Oaks Final, driver Natalie Rasmussen looped the field with a mile to go to sit outside the leader Rocknroll Magic. Applying pressure from the 800 metres with a quarter down the back in 27.2, Dream About Me surged to the lead on the last corner and that was the race done and dusted. Champion West Australian filly Dodolicious ran on strongly for second nine metres in arrears of Dream About Me with a further nine metres back to the outsider Art Mistress who made ground late for third. Dream About Me cut out the 2400 metres in 2:50.3, a mile rate of 1:54.2 which equalled the track record for a three year old filly and the closing sectionals were cut out in a quick 55 and 27.8. The daughter of Bettor's Delight looked to be cruising in the home straight and looked to have plenty to offer still. Natalie was stoked with the performance  " She just won that with ridiculous ease." " She was waiting for them in the straight, flicking her ears and messing about." " This is an exceptional filly and I don't think people realise how good she is." " I know Lazarus and Waikiki Beach are outstanding colts but I seriously think she is good enough to beat them," Natalie told Harnesslink this afternoon. Leading West Australian trainer Greg Bond was over the moon with the performance of his filly Dodolicious to run second. " It is no disgrace to run second to a champion and my filly was clearly the second best filly out there today so we are thrilled with her run." " The fact I bred the filly makes the result just that bit sweeter" " It was a big call to make the trip from Perth but you never win anything staying at home" " She can go  home now and get ready for the Oaks in Perth," Greg said. A lot of pundits have been arguing over the merits of Waikiki Beach and Lazarus as to who is the best three year old in Australasia. With Natalie's forthwright comments today, two possabilities has now become three and that clash between the three All Stars champions when it happens will be one of the highlights of the season. Our Dream About Me Harnesslink Media 

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.”

When the news broke late last week that the champion three year old colt Lazarus had shown signs of a bit of trouble brewing, the harness racing pundits immediately had the glamour colt at deaths door. Co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen was amused with some of the stories that came out over the weekend. " Over here they have just about retired him already." "He worked this morning with Have Faith In Me so he can't be too bad." "It is just a precaution but there doesn't need to be too much wrong to bring the Derby at Auckland into doubt." "You wouldn't risk a horse like that." "We have plenty of runners in that and have decided Stroke of Luck deserves his chance if he can show the right form in the lead up race." "Dream About Me is running in the Derby at this stage but we are keeping our options open there because we have to see how she comes through the Oaks over here next week." "Even then it will probably be quite a late decision but we have Golden Goddess in the Oaks at this stage and those two are sort of like Waikiki Beach and Lazarus when it comes to a clash." "Fight for Glory had the ideal hit out last night (Friday)."  "She is a pudgy little thing and she just got away on us she was doing so well" " I didn't have to do much until the 600 metres and she did some good work from there so it was just perfect from our point of view. Natalie was particularly happy with how the team went at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. " Its was all good news from here." "Waikiki Beach and Dream About Me both had to step up and I wasn't surprised that they did." " I had done the form and thought we would have to work." " They both did the job and were running around the paddock this morning so all is well." " They had to run some fast quarters especially that last one for Dream About Me but she is such a good filly." "She just goes out and does it." "They ran Smolda close but while he looked under pressure late, its a different thing when you actually want to go past the old guy." " He is inclined to just ease off when he is in front," Natalie said. Courtesy of David McCarthy - All Stars Racing Stables  -  Check site here

The two heats for the New South Wales Oaks at the harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Menangle last night have laid the groundwork for an enthralling final next Sunday. First Heat The West Australian raider Dodolicious lived up to her billing as the best in the west as she gave her eastern states rivals a good old fashioned thrashing in the first of the two Oaks heats. Driver Luke McCarthy let her find her feet early before taking over after 700 metres and ambling through a middle half of 61.6 before brushing home in a smart 55.3 with the last 400 metres in 26.9 for an easy victory. Luke eased Dodolicious down the last bit but she couldn't have been more impressive in her Menangle debut and looms as a winning threat in the Oaks final. The way the race was run it is hard to make a case for any of the other runners in the first heat to play a major part in the final next week. Dodolicious paced the 2400 metres in 2:55.2, a mile rate of 1:57.5 with closing sectionals of 55.3 and 26.9 The daughter of Bettor's Delight is now the winner of ten races and with five second placings from just fifteen starts, Dodolicious  took her stake earnings to just shy of $200,000 with last nights win. Second Heat The unbeaten Our Dream About Me was pushed to the limit in the second heat of the New South Wales Oaks by a very game Rocknroll Magic and it wasn't until the last 20 metres that Our Dream About Me got her nose in front. Mark Pitt sent Rocknroll Magic, the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover forward early from barrier eight and she found the death seat after 150 metres while Natalie Rasmussen was content to idle along three back in the running line. Rocknroll Magic started to apply some pressure from the 800 metres, brushing down the back straight in a quick 27.3 and Natalie and Our Dream About Me were off in pursuit as they went past the 500 metres mark. However Rocknroll Magic was flying in front and turned for home a couple of lengths to the good of Our Dream About Me and she was still traveling. For the first time in her racing career Our Dream About Me looked very vulnerable but like all champions do, she lifted under Natalie's urgings and put her nose in front where it counted in the last few strides. When the closing sectionals were announced post race it quickly became apparent just how good the first two fillies had gone. The last 800 metres off the front had been covered in a brilliant 53.5 with the closing 400 metres in a sizzling 26.2. Rollnroll Magic had worked harder during the running but Our Dream About Me had somehow made up three or four lengths on a 26.2 quarter and both fillies could take plenty out of their runs heading into next week. The rest of the field was nearly thirty metres away and it is hard to envisage any of them playing a major part in the Oaks Final next Sunday. Overall Our Dream About Me paced the 2400 metres in 2:53.2, a mile rate of 1:56.2 with those sizzling sectionals to finish of 53.5 and 26.2. Last nights win by Our Dream About Me made it eleven straight for the daughter of Bettor's Delight and took her stake earnings over the $440,000 mark. The New South Wales Oaks Final next Sunday looks a three horse race between three very talented fillies. Our Dream About Me deserves to be favourite but as last nights racing showed, Dodolicious and Rocknroll Magic are not going to die wondering. Harnesslink Media  

Early on in the last harness racing season, the Art Major colt Major Ben looked a two year old of real class. Several trial runs pointed to him being one of the standout juveniles of his year and being from the All Star barn only added to the expectation Major Ben ended up only having one career start at two where he was sent out favourite in the Group 3 Sapling Stakes at Ashburton Raceway. Even though he ran a very creditable fourth for Natalie Rasmussen in a smart 1:55.3, he didn't look that tractable during the running. A decision was quickly made by the All Star camp that the big gangly two year old would be best served by a decent break to let him fill out and mature into his big frame When he was brought back into work, he had a small setback which meant more time on the sidelines before this latest campaign. Unfortunately he had another small hiccup this time in but he is back now and raring to go. The camp is in no hurry to rush him back at this stage and are taking a patient approach to this campaign. Today at the Rangiora trials, Major Ben had his first run off the All Stars establishment for over twelve months. Tim Williams let him find his feet early, settling last in the nine horse field and was in no hurry to improve his position until they straightened for home. Major Ben weaved a path through the middle, closing on the leaders very quickly before running out of room in the last 50 metres. We privately timed Major Ben to run his last 800 metres in 56.4 and the 400 metres in a sharp 26.9 and he was under double wraps the whole time. Major Ben looks ready to resume where he left off twelve months ago and his racetrack return is now eagerly awaited. Harnesslink Media

Once in a generation a harness racing racehorse comes along that redefines the breed with displays of power and speed that lifts the overall standard to the next level. Last night at Tabcorp Park Menangle, Have Faith In Me gave a performance for the ages with a stunning win in the $200,000 Chariots Of Fire and in doing so the lightly raced four year old lay down the gauntlet to the established grand circuit stars ahead of the $750,000 Miracle Mile on February 28th. Plenty of the form analysts questioned weather Have Faith In Me from the outside gate of 10 could give all his rivals a start and beat them last night in Australia's premier four year old race. The former New Zealand mare Arms Of An Angel was the main pick of those analysts to puncture the Have Faith In Me bubble. Before the race had barely started, the whole complexion of the race had changed. Arms Of An Angel had blown the score up and was eight to ten lengths behind the bunch early in the race. Meanwhile Natalie Rasmussen had sent Have Faith In Me forward on a mission as the soon as the gate hit the starting point and was three wide with cover handy to the pace after the first 400 metres was cut out in a quick 26.6. Following Cruz Bromac around, Have Faith In Me found the death seat outside him at the 800 metres in 55.1 after a 28.5 second quarter. Natalie applied more pressure down the back straight and the third quarter whizzed by in 27 seconds and it was apparent at that point that Have Faith In Me had his rivals in serious trouble. When Natalie gave him a little bit of rein at the top of the straight, Have Faith In Me absolutely bolted away and went down to the line under double wraps for a victory that will live in the memory for a long time. Cutting the last 400 metres out in a slick 26.9, Have Faith In Me stopped the timer in a brilliant 1:48.8, the first four year old to break 1:50 in Australasia. Lord Zin Zan after trailing most of the way ran into second 10 metres away while the early breaker Arms Of An Angel made ground late from last to run third, another four metres behind Lord Zin Zan. Co -trainer Mark Purdon is never one to hype up one of his many stars to the media but his praise for the son of Bettor's Delight was  instant and left nobody in any doubt of how the champion trainer sees his latest star when he stated that Have Faith In Me was as good a horse as he has ever handled. Speaking to Sky commentator Adam Hamilton post race, Mark Purdon said the scary thing was that Natalie reckoned Have Faith In Me had a few gears left yet at the finish. The only disappointing aspect to the ground breaking win by the New Zealand trained and owned champion was the response of the local media. They became fixated on the performance of Arms Of An Angel to run third and the following line was repeated again and again over the next 60 minutes. " While not wanting to take anything away from the performance of Have Faith In Me, the run of Arms Of An Angel was unbelievable." So while stating they didn't want to take anything away from the brilliant performance of Have Faith In Me, they then proceeded to do exactly that again and again and again. The performance of Have Faith In Me in absolutely destroying a quality Chariots Of Fire field in 1:48.8 should have seen all the kudos and spotlight focussed on him post race. The fact Have Faith In Me had to fight for the spotlight with a mare who ran third was disappointing to say the least. Harnesslink Media

It's shaping as a match-race between two of the quickest harness racing pacers to race in Australasia. And two of the best reinswomen ever to grace the Tabcorp Park Menangle circuit will be in the ˜hotseats". The $200,000 Form 700 Chariots Of Fire should ensure a big crowd at Menangle on Saturday night as Miracle Mile invitations go on the line. Star New Zealand-based driver Natalie Rasmussen is here to partner one of Mark Purdon's stable stars in Have Faith In Me, who has drawn gate 11 and should come into 10 when the first emergency, Admiral Bronski is withdrawn. And the Kiwi colt may have to break 1:50, or go very close to that mark if he is to come from the wide draw and account for flying four-year-old former Kiwi mare Arms Of An Angel. Arms Of An Angel will be partnered by premier reinswoman Lauren Panella. This daughter of former Inter Dominion champion Elsu is unbeaten since crossing the Tasman to join the Shane Tritton barn, winning seven in succession with ridiculous ease. Indeed Arms Of An Angel is already a triple record holder at Menangle, with two incredible times of 1:50.7 and 1:50.3 among her string of wins. And her winning margins in Australia add up to an even-more-impressive 114.6m. Panella will be looking for a quick getaway when she comes out of the eight barrier on Saturday night and is expected to cross and find the lead. From there it might be catch-me-if-you can – and break 1:50 if you have to – if you want to beat this dynamic duo. While it shapes as a match race, the presence of Tact Tate, Ameretto, Cruz Bromac and several other smart performers ensures it will be a race to remember . . . with an invitation to the SEW Eurodrive Miracle Mile awaiting the winner. There are at least four other invitations up for grabs on the night with the first two home in the Coca-Cola Amatil Sprint as well as the Cordina Chicken Farms Sprint guaranteed spots in the Miracle Mile on February 28. For further information telephone NSWHRC Racing Manager David Wonson on (02) 4645 2200.

Who will drive the Mark Purdon trained runners during the Miracle Mile carnival at Tabcorp Park Menangle? With an artillery including Have Faith In Me, Our Waikiki Beach and Fight For Glory the harness racing stable is set to be represented in a number of the big races later this month. Last year Purdon left the race driving to Natalie Rasmussen on Inter Dominion Grand Final day at Menangle and she didn't let the stable down winning the Ladyship Mile with Adore Me in Australasian record time and the NSW Oaks. Rasmussen returned to Sydney in April last year to drive Our Waikiki Beach in the APG 2 year old final and Smolda in the Len Smith Mile and won both of the group one events. When asked on Sydney radio over the weekend who will drive the horses in Sydney during the Miracle Mile carnival, Rasmussen gave no clear indication on who would sit behind the Purdon runners. "We don't even know, two weeks in horse racing is a long time so we have to actually get there first," Rasmussen said. "We don't worry about that too much - we'll work it out when the time comes." Rasmussen's record at Menangle is mind blowing. In only 44 drives on the 1400 metre circuit since it opened in 2008, Natalie has won 17 races and been placed on a further 15 occasions meaning she finishes in the top three 72.72% of the time she drives in a race on the track. In her last 18 drives at Menangle, Rasmussen has won ten races and run a further four placings. What is more astounding is her group one record at Menangle. Rasmussen has driven in 16 group one races on the track for eight wins and six placings. The two horses that failed to place at the highest level when driven by Rasmussen at Menangle were Western Cam in the 2010 Len Smith Mile when fourth behind Smoken Up and Blacks A Fake after finishing seventh in the 2009 Miracle Mile. Greg Hayes

Want to be involved in the excitement of racing the first Auckland Reactors? Alabar is putting together a syndicate so you can do just that. As one of New Zealand’s greatest on the racetrack, Auckland Reactor has been extremely well supported at stud. His first yearlings will enter the sale ring next month – and the reports as to their quality continue to build. The yearlings for the syndicate will be hand-picked at the 2016 Yearling Sales by three of New Zealand’s top trainers – Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, Geoff Small and Nathan Williamson. The appeal of having yearlings selected and trained by these outstanding horse-people is obvious – as is the fact that they represent a geographical spread throughout New Zealand with them being based in Auckland, Canterbury and Southland. Another point of interest with the syndicate is that fractional ownerships from 2% upwards will be available. This is a very popular system in North America with owners being able to choose the level of investment they are comfortable with – bringing a range of people together in the enjoyment of racing a horse. Full details will be available from Alabar after the 2016 Yearling Sales. There is a possibility the syndicate will also include the progeny of a proven Alabar sire. Alabar’s Graeme Henley says, “We’ve been thinking about starting up syndicates for a while now. It’s been watching the first crop of Auckland Reactor develop into such impressive types that’s got us excited to kick it off this year. “What’s more, Ivan Behrnes is going to look after the syndicate for us and he’s really passionate about it – you need someone with that level of enthusiasm and commitment to bring it all together for everyone involved. “It should be a lot of fun seeing the syndicate horses race from Invercargill to Alexandra Park and, who knows, maybe Australia as well. “We’ve already had a lot of interest so it looks like it will fill up pretty quickly. The plan is to do other syndicates in the future including ones specifically for breeding and another for the trotters - I’m sure there is a place and a demand for them.” For further information or to register your interest contact Ivan Behrnes - Alabar Syndicate Manager 03 615 6332, ivan@alabar.co.nz Alabar (NZ) Ltd is an authorised syndicator

Barring a virus ripping through the barn, it's hard to make a case for the All Stars stable not winning all of the major 3-year-old races. When you think about the best 3-year-old's in Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen's stable, Motu Premier is not a name that comes to mind. But Mark Purdon is not so sure. Lazarus turned in a performance for the ages to down stablemate Chase The Dream in the Sires Stakes final on cup day and now Motu Premier has produced an ultra impressive win in the $30,000 3-year-old colts and geldings conciliation at Addington Raceway on Friday night. Motu Premier's performance was enough to confirm his trip to Auckland and Purdon believes he will be a live contender with his high profile stablemates in the big money races. "He's not far behind them (his stablemates) at all," Purdon said. That is a major accolade when you also have the unbeaten Waikiki Beach waiting in the wings but Purdon believes Motu Premier can push them all close if the cards fall his way in the running. "He's actually right up there with them," he said. The All Stars stable picked up the other feature on the card when Golden Goddess won the third heat of the Sires Stakes 3-year-old fillies series by four and a half lengths. The blistering effort was enough for bookmakers to move the Australian bred Art Major filly into $3.20 favouritism for the final at Alexandra Park on New Years Eve ahead of stablemates Arden's Choice and Piccadilly Princess who are both at $4.80. Golden Goddess paced the 1950m in 2:19.7 with a final last quarter of 26.1. Arden's Choice was second with the Nigel McGrath trained Kashana a distant third. Piccadilly Princess was a comfortable winner at Alexandra Park on Friday night over Cyclone Kate and Bettor Think Quick who is an $8 chance in the futures market for the Sires Stakes final. The All Stars stable won four races at Alexandra Park and two at Addington. Purdon confirmed that unbeaten filly Dream About Me will not contest the final heat of the Sires Stakes series for 3-year-old fillies in Auckland on December 11. The classy Bettor's Delight filly who is a half sister to Christen Me, has been given an extended break after winning eight races from as many starts in her 2-year-old season. Her 3-year-old campaign will mirror that of unbeaten colt Waikiki Beach who like Dream About Me won a Breeders Crown final in Victoria on August 30. Meanwhile, former Canterbury pacer No Doctor Needed upset dominant favourite The Orange Agent in the feature pace at Alexandra Park. Having his first start for the Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick barn after formally being successfully campaigned by Robert Dunn. The Orange Agent will have lost few of her many admirers when going down by a nose to No Doctor Needed, who had a much softer trip, but the disappointment of the race was Sky Major. Barry Purdon found the one-one with a lap to go but he was a beaten horse on the home bend. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ    -    Check site here

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