Day At The Track

The inside word from the All Stars Stable

06:50 AM 14 Nov 2017 NZDT
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Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen,Harness racing
Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen

MARK: Drives Tuesday -R2 Major Shard-R6 Prince Fearless  R7-Spankem -R9 Funatthebeach-R10 Lazarus-R12 Bettor Trix

I am as confident this year about Lazarus in the Cup as I was 12 months ago. That is largely based on that I think he is as good as he was last year. 

Not much I can fault about his prep. and this morning's work (2400m in 3.20) is just nice maintenance work for them.  He has done the work and you just look after them for the last week and keep them happy. You can't be getting them ready a week out.  Last year he ran up the straight track for his last workout while this year he ran on the main track. No significance in that just how it worked out. He is a sensible horse and that makes things easier for him. 

He is drawn next to Imola who has been a bit unpredictable at times from a stand. There is not really anything you can do to take any measure against this because often if a horse is going to do something wrong there is nothing to indicated it before it actually happens. You have to hope for the best and try and be ready if something happens. You can't predict it.

 I think Heaven Rocks  will be the one of ours I am most worried about. He has that brilliance factor that means when he gets it right he can do just about anything. I don't think the distance will blunt his sprinting ability. He is not as reliable as Dream About Me  who is also a strong chance but he has an x factor no doubt about it. She has had a good prep and has improved after every race. We know how good she is especially as a stayer

Piccadilly Princess has gone under the radar a bit but she has done everything right. It is a tough test for her if everyone else does things right but she won't disgrace herself. She deserves her chance. Have Faith In Me  gives Nath a great moment driving in the Cup. Look, he is probably not where he was when he won the Miracle Mile but he has a lot of ability still and if he did it right early could easily be in the money. The stand has been a worry for him.  But he can catch it and if he does he will go a top race. I am not worried about his stamina. The distance is not a worry for him.

My first drive is with Major Shard and we have four in that. He is probably the best. His trial seemed good the other day  and really he had no c hance the way things turned out in the higher class race at Auckland. I don't think that is relevant  Because of the draw is lean toward Conway Beach as next best but Shenandoah could easily be as good. Seminaride follows Conway Beach out which could be a help for Nathan. 

Prince Fearless ?  Well one of the main reasons for transferring him to Steve Boyd is the water walker because he needs that sort of programme to help him. I have been a little disappointed to be honest. He has just not trotted as well on raceday as he has shown in trials and that is frustrating. He has the ability to do most things as we have seen in the past but it is hard to know how he will go.

The Sires Stakes Final will be a really tough race as it always is. Spankem  has a nice draw as it might turn out and he  is a tough and classy racehorse as he has shown.. Still I favour Chase Auckland as our best in the race all things even.  He has gone on getting better and while he has a tricky draw his class will make him hardest of ours to beat if all things are even. 

I think David Butcher is the driver with most to think about going into the race from the inside draw.  Things are sure to be fairly brutal early and he would probably feel he has to hand up to the right horse if he is going to hand up at all. The pressure to lead all the way is sure to be huge. If he let Pat's Delight go he in turn would probably give way to Alta Maestro knowing he will hold the lead and if David hands to one of ours it is possible  it would hand up to another of ours who really wanted the front and so kept the trail. Quite a lot of pressure and it is always the case with this race. I rate The Devil's Own next of ours because of the draw but All U Need is Faith is probably good value from that draw because he could end up with the best run. He has been tough in the heats. 

Tim is on Ashley Locaz but when I drove him last time I felt he was on the right track.  He would improve further but he has come up well and he can really sprint off a quick pace as he shwoed at the Jewels.

Funatthebeach  has that tough draw and its quite tricky because it ends up seven off the front and six off the back . Anthem will have the drop from his draw  and Mach Up is likely to get a cosy run. Delight in Me could get a good trip through as well. I think my drive can still win.  It is a good field without probably a real standout and that draw of Anthem might be tricky for me.

Bettor Trix is my last drive. Again a nice field without a real star. I am thinking now that Bettor Trix is better in behind than in front where I thought she went so well  so I will be bearing that in mind. I think she is a very good filly and so is Bare Knuckle who has a trickier draw. There is not much between them. 


NATALIE- Drives Tuesday- R2 Conway Beach-R4 TheFixer-R7 Chase Auckland R9 Anthem  R10 Heaven Rocks  R11 Bare Knuckle

We have had our moments over the last week but all seems well now going into tomorrow. The horses seemed good this morning and hopefully they stay that way. 

Heaven Rocks -can be beat Lazarus ?. It's a question a few are asking. In my view all things being equal he can't but if a little bit of the luck goes his way and not Lazarus's way  I think he can.  He's got to be going forward at or soon after the start because he can't give those top horses a start and want to beat them when they are running the sort of times they will go tomorrow. All I  can say is that I am very happy with where he is at and really it is up to him. If he can get going early he has options, if he can't its going to be an uphill battle especially against Lazarus. He is a headline horse it seems and Laz is the quiet achiever and he won it so easily last year. Dream About Me will be there somewhere , Piccadilly Princess is under the radar but doing well and Have Faith in Me, well it all depends on what he does early on.

Chase Auckland is another of my big drives and there is a lot of talk about this race too. They will break the record I am sure so it will be a brutal sort of race. 

I am not too worried about his draw really,  I am confident he will get his chance. I have a lot of respect for King of Swing. He has done it at top level and done it out in front and I respect him highly. I think he will give me some options at some stage of the race. My other top rival is Spankem because I have seen how well he has worked this week and how he seems to have peaked at the right time.  When they go hard like they will here you usually find a path for anything going good enough and that is the way I am approaching the race.

Conway Beach is a good start for the day from that draw. She can be a bit ordinary in her work but I know she is well and  this is a good race for her. Major Shard is possibly our best but can have is moments and Shenandoah is good enough to win. Semiramide will be behind us and could get a drag into the race and get some.. She is my little roughie for the day.

Thefixer  is in the zone and trialling up well. I am very happy with the way he has come up and he has got to be hard the way that field has shaped. Anthem  has a lovely draw. He went out with the top three year olds lasts time and matched the speed so that makes him hard in this field. He is no better than Funatthebeach -they are about on the same level but the draw gives him an advantage. They are probably our best two with the filly drawn a bit rough. 

The last race in which I have Bare Knuckle is a tough race and I wouldn't be thinking we had it won at all. If she can run in three I will be happy with her. She has drawn ordinary but I think this will work in her favour. She hasn't had much practice and is still learning and this will be the chance for her to mix it in the field. There are some good sorts in this and with our fillies we are not taking anything for granted. 

All Stars Stables

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