Australasian Grand Circuit
Stories:   Pacers 2004/2005 Season
Leg 10:  "The Advertiser" SA Cup   2004/2005Results   Points
                15/01/2005   Globe Derby, Adelaide, SA   2645m   Mobile Start  $100,000
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A favourable barrier draw and a specially-made shoe to cover a worrying quarter-crack helped Young Rufus NZ lead throughout in The Advertiser SA Cup – a win that saw this handsome 7YO stallion become the latest millionaire pacer in Australasia. 

For trainer-driver Mark Purdon, the win was special. Less than two years earlier, four NZ vets had worked overtime to save the life of Young Rufus NZ, removing more than two metres of its bowel in a do-or-die operation. The stallion might not be quite the horse it once was, but an emotional Purdon was quick to rate this Adelaide victory as being more to him than some of the much richer events the trainer has won on the Grand Circuit.  

The win also came hard on the heels of Purdon learning that another of his stars, the injury-plagued Jack Cade NZ, had fractured a canon bone and will never race again. 

Sokyola NZ, which went into the SA Pacing Cup was second behind Just An Excuse NZ on the progressive points for the Grand Circuit Champion, was the disappointment in the race, no doubt adding fuel to the debate that Australia’s No 1 pacer this season has to lead to win at Group One level.  

Trainer-driver Lance Justice made an interesting comment after the race when one journalist claimed Justice told him that at one point during the week he had even considered scratching Sokyola NZ because of its second row draw. Sokyola NZ began fast from gate two off the second row. In the hustle and bustle into the first corner, Ian McMahon (Flashing Red) was not prepared to ease and let the favourite through. Both sulkies appeared to touch on several occasions. 

Though considered to be a New Zealander, Young Rufus NZ is owned by a Victorian syndicate headed by Harry Manolitsis. When Purdon returned to New Zealand after the Victoria Cup in Melbourne, he left the stallion in the care of Ross Payne, a former Kiwi who is the private trainer for Ladyship Lodge at Modewarre, north of Torquay. 


Concerned with a quarter-crack this time in that often had left a hind hoof of the pacer bleeding from grit that would work into the injury, Payne sought permission from Purdon to make up a special shoe for the horse. The Adelaide Group One race was the first time the flashy looking brown had raced in its special shoe. 

The consistent Grand Circuit placegetter Hexus was scratched on raceday after NSW Officials had stood Hexus down from racing after adjourning an Inquiry into a swab irregularity in November 2004 the day before. NSW Officials requested that Harness Racing South Australia withdraw the horse from the field. This action occurred with the scratching on raceday and Hexus did not take his place in the field. 

Young Rufus NZ had chased Sokyola NZ home in its three previous outings. But with Sokyola NZ drawing the second row and Young Rufus NZ barrier three, there was good money to say this would make a big difference. After a close tussle for favouritism, Sokyola NZ started marginally ahead of the Purdon representative. 

Victoria’s Robric Jonboy broke the line first before allowing Young Rufus NZ to cross to the lead. Flashing Red (Queensland) showed a little more early speed than it usually does, and after one lap it was second, from Robric Jonboy and Double Identity. Justice wasted little time pulling out on the favourite to move around the field into the ‘death’. 

Approaching the home-turn the final time it was Sokyola NZ the first to run up the white flag, surprising its many loyal fans who in recent weeks had seen it shrug off challengers when leading all the way. 

In the shuffle-up inside the last lap, Young Rufus NZ remained unchallenged at the head of affairs. When Sokyola NZ surprisingly began to show signs of distress, it was left to Flashing Red and Double Identity to give chase. Both took ground off the winner near the line, dead-heating for second. 

In recent starts trainer-driver Harry Martin has been keeping former Grand Circuit champion Double Identity out of early battles. The now 8YO seemed to relish being driven from back in the field at Globe Derby Park, suggesting there is still plenty of fight in the veteran pacer.  

After a quick lead-time, the first quarter of the last mile was paced in 30.6 sec. Those out the back were in real trouble when Young Rufus NZ was able to get away with a moderate 31.7 sec. second quarter. The winner then reeled off a 29.1 quarter and a similar time for the dash to the post. The official mile rate was 1:59.1, several seconds slower than the time set by Courage Under Fire NZ several seasons earlier.  

The two mares in the field both started from the second line. Jamin, now in foal, and Sand Pebbles (out of the draw) never raised the hopes of their connections at any stage.      

Young Rufus NZ (Sokys Atom USA-Hurricane Mark (NZ)) has now won 21 of its 58 starts for earnings of $1,000,140. 


All Time Pacing and Trotting Records pre-2001 please refer to the Australian Harness Racing Annual.

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