Cup Champion: Brilliant mare Adore Me claimed the 2014 New Zealand Trotting Cup at Addington
If some is good, more is better.
Just ask Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen.
This is the couple that head up the all-conquering harness racing stables known simply as “All Stars” from their Canterbury base situated at Rolleston.
Having racing stables which carries a moniker like this is a bold move, and one that could easily be misconstrued, but once you open the gates on this juggernaut, there is no more apt description befitting this wonderful and hugely successful operation.
And on the biggest stage possible, New Zealand Cup day at Addington – the All Stars OWNED it!
The $NZ714, 000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup was taken out by brilliant mare Adore Me who defeated a game Franco Nelson in a gripping finish while Australian raider For A Reason was a close-up third.
Adore Me won and also established a world record for a 3200m standing start event, easily eclipsing the previous mark of 3;56.4 set by Changeover when he won the Cup back in 2008.
This mighty mare smashed it – 3;54.6.
For Purdon, who also drove the mare, it was his third win in the nation’s biggest race and his first in 18 years after Il Vicolo went back to back in 1995/96.
The victory of Adore Me was also the first since 2005 when Mainland Banner took honours for the fairer sex.
In front of a huge Christchurch crowd which was bathed in sunshine, many key runners made awkward beginning’s including Cups king Terror To Love who danced off the mark when the strands were released.
Jimmy Johnstone and Tiger Tara dueled for the early lead before Franco Nelson swept around the outside and took control as the big field worked by the crowd on the first occasion with two laps remaining.
With the lead time covered in 1;59.6 – Franco Nelson handed the lead over to Terror To Love as they worked by the judge and bell with a lap remaining.
The first half of the final mile was reached in 58.7 seconds after splits of 28.8 and 29.9.
Terror To Love led the way, For A Reason moved around three-wide to sit parked which then presented one out/ one back cover to Christen Me.
Meanwhile, Purdon angled Adore Me three-wide and found cover momentarily behind Pemberton Shard before launching a run four-wide at the 600m marker.
The third quarter was covered in 28.5 seconds.
Approaching the home turn, Terror To Love led For A Reason and Adore Me with Franco Nelson waiting for the passing lane run while Christen Me attempted to force clear.
In deep stretch, it was Adore Me who prevailed by a half head margin from Franco Nelson who finished hard via the passing lane while For A Reason battled bravely to edge out Terror To Love for the minor end of the prize a further length away.
Unfortunately, there was no history breaking performance from Terror To Love who was looking at becoming the first horse to win the event four times.
The last quarter was timed in 27.5 seconds.
The mile rate was 1;57.9.
“This is unbelievable; what an amazing race and what an unbelievable effort from this great mare. She needed to be great and she went above and beyond, truly remarkable performance.” Purdon stated.
An invitation soon followed to contest the Gr.1 $750,000 Miracle Mile on November 29 at TABCORP Park, Menangle for the connections of Adore Me but no decision is yet to be reached.
The victory of Adore Me in the Cup was the icing on what was a gigantic and very sweet cake.
Throughout the day, the All Stars livery of blue jacket with silver stars wreaked havoc in many events including the Gr.1 $NZ156, 400 3yo Sires Stakes Final which resulted in a top three finish with Have Faith In Me defeating Hug The Wind and Alta Orlando.
Coincidentally, Have Faith In Me is the younger full brother to Adore Me with both horses bred by Charlie Roberts of Woodlands Stud in South Auckland.
Other winners for the All Stars included Backup, Rare Opportunity, Messini, Vice Consul and Prince Fearless.
So, 7 from 12 on the biggest day in New Zealand racing.
Some might say it’s an All Star performance.
Hoof note; this is the second occasion that the All Stars stables have won 7 races on a program following the effort at Alexandra Park, Auckland in 2009.