All Stars re­turn in win­ning style

The Press - - Sport-Racing -

Cham­pion NZ har­ness racing train­ers Mark Pur­don and Natalie Ras­mussen are un­likely to have a starter in the $A200,000 Vic­to­ria Cup on Oc­to­ber 14, de­spite run­ning first and third in the New Brighton Cup at Ad­ding­ton on Saturday.

The All Stars sta­ble again starred with their re­turn to NZ fea­ture racing with 2015 Auck­land Cup and 2016 Mir­a­cle Mile win­ner Have Faith In Me hav­ing the last say from a handy spot on the outer, to de­feat front-run­ning exstable­mate Ti­tan Ban­ner and last year’s Auck­land Cup win­ner Dream About Me.

The sta­ble, which also has last year’s New Zealand Cup win­ner Lazarus set to re­turn soon, is com­pletely fo­cused on the $800,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup at Ad­ding­ton on Novem­ber 14.

‘‘I’m a bit hes­i­tant to look at the Vic­to­ria Cup,’’ said co-trainer Mark Pur­don. ‘‘The NZ Cup is our main fo­cus. If we go over there it’s just one race. They could get a bug or some­thing else could go wrong and I wouldn’t want to undo their prepa­ra­tions for the NZ Cup.’’

Have Faith In Me, who be­came the fastest horse in Aus­trala­sia with his 1:47.5 win in the Mir­a­cle Mile at four, didn’t quite re­turn to the same heights last term, but Pur­don is happy with him af­ter win­ning his six-year-old re­turn to racing.

‘‘I had three vets look at him at the end of his racing last sea­son and the last one I was re­ally happy with. We in­jected his hocks and he’ll have main­te­nance with them every few months, but that could have been the rea­son why his gait wasn’t per­fect ear­lier.’’

Train­ing co-part­ner and top strike-rate driver Natalie Ras­mussen gave Have Faith In Me a per­fect drag into the fin­ish on the back of Dream About Me (parked) over the fi­nal lap and he showed all his old speed to win by half a length in 3:14.7 for the stand start 2600m, the lead­ers run­ning their last 800m in 55.4s.

Have Faith In Me has now won 16 of 33 life­time starts for $1.46 mil­lion in stakes for Auck­land own­ers Mark and Den­nis Dun­ford. Mark Pur­don, driv­ing Dream About Me, said the top race­mare would de­rive plenty of ben­e­fit from the race.

The all-con­quer­ing All Stars un­leashed an­other promis­ing type in debu­tante, Chase Auck­land, who led and won untested by 5 lengths in the hands of Ras­mussen in a 1:58.8 rate (1950m). Backed down to $1.50 win favouritism, the gelded son of a for­mer sta­ble star in Auck­land Re­ac­tor is raced by the Alabar Racing Syn­di­cate.

‘‘He is Sires Stakes el­i­gi­ble but it will be a big jump to that level for him,’’ said Pur­don. ‘‘But Auck­land Re­ac­tor didn’t race un­til he was three and the horse has only had one race.’’

Beach­babebeauty was an­other smart Sires Stakes el­i­gi­ble 3YO pac­ing win­ner, show­ing a smart turn of foot to win in a 1:57.6 rate (1950m), to re­main un­beaten in two ap­pear­ances for the Ken and Tony Bar­ron sta­ble. Co-trainer Tony Bar­ron said it was a good lit­mus test for the gelded son of Some­beach­some­where and an­other for­mer top Al­ls­tars win­ner in O Baby in a strong form field.

Destiny Jones, who was trans­ferred by Blen­heim co-owner and for­mer trainer Dean Hunter to Christchurch trainer Kevin Town­ley at the start of the week, cap­i­talised when favourites, Habibti Ivy and Har­riet Of Mot, broke stride early in the $18,000 Or­deal Trot­ting Cup.

The six-year-old mare went into the race ranked 23rd for Novem­ber’s Group One Do­min­ion Hand­i­cap but gained au­to­matic en­try to the Do­min­ion with the up­set win. Destiny Jones out­fin­ished an­other out­sider and last year’s Or­deal win­ner Amaretto Sun (parked).

PHOTO: JOSEPH JOHN­SON/STUFF

Have Faith In Me, driven by Natalie Ras­mussen, made a win­ning re­turn to racing for the new sea­son at Ad­ding­ton on Saturday claim­ing the New Brighton Cup.

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