Day At The Track

Famous name chasing another Auckland Cup

09:16 AM 29 Dec 2018 NZDT
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Barry Purdon - master trainer
Barry Purdon
Duane Ranger photo

There’s a certain something with the name Purdon and the Auckland Cup.

The famed North Island feature was first staged back in 1890 when Commodore proved triumphant and since then, so many great champions have won the event.

Names like Cardigan Bay, Delightful Lady, Gammalite, Master Musician, Christian Cullen, Monkey King, Im Themightyquinn and Terror To Love  have all proved victorious while many more have all etched their name into the record books.

But it’s the name Purdon that is synonymous with the Alexandra Park feature.

Whether it is Roy, Barry or Mark – they have all made the race their own!

Their haul of winners includes Sole Command, Comedy Lad, Luxury Liner (x 2), Christopher Vance, Chokin (x 2), Sharp And Telford, Holmes DG, Young Rufus and Auckland Reactor.

And more recently, they have won it with Have Faith In Me, Dream About Me and Vincent.

What’s even more remarkable, the Purdon name has contested the Auckland Cup every year since 1985.

Most times with multiple entries.

And the 2018 edition is no different.

Again, the Gr.1 $250,000 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup will be staged over the 3200m and the Purdon stables have 8 of the 12 runners.

The All Stars (Mark & Natalie Rasmussen) have 5 entrants while Barry has three runners engaged.

Sporting the blue and silver livery is classy four-year-old’s All U Need Is Faith, Turn It Up, Sicario and Ashley Locaz while 2016 winner Dream About Me also represents the powerful stable.

Mark Purdon

All five pacers are racing in super form headlined by millionaire mare Dream About Me and emerging superstar Turn It Up, a last start winner of the Franklin Cup.

Big brother Barry has Raptors Flight, Jacks Legend and Mach Shard lining up.

Jacks Legend finished 6th behind Vincent last year.

Astute mentor Steve Reid has a pair of challengers with the highly regarded Star Galleria and Utmost Delight both engaged.

Dream About Me and Utmost Delight are the only mares tackling the famed feature this year.

Veteran performer Lets Elope is starting in the Cup for the second time after finishing 5th behind Terror To Love back in 2014.

After spending several seasons in Australia, the Real Desire gelding has recently returned to original trainers Frank Cooney and Tate Hopkins.

Promising four-year-old Triple Eight takes his place for trainer Steve Telfer but faces his biggest challenge to date.

Six of the 12 runners are four-year-olds.

As it stands, Sydney based pacer Tiger Tara is a clear leader in the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit and while connections have elected to bypass this feature, maximum points are up for grabs which will be crucial as the series hits the halfway mark.

Chris Barsby

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