A highly successful Auckland Inter Dominion Carnival concluded at Alexandra Park last Saturday and it was no surprise to see the dominance of the “All Stars” stable throughout the carnival.
With five runners to contest the 2700 metre $500,000 IRT Pacers Grand Final, the stage was set for a terrific contest with a memorable victory to 4Y0 Bettor’s Delight-Reality Check entire Ultimate Sniper who was unbeaten, outstanding and sensational during the heats take the ultimate prize.
Driven all through by Natalie, Ultimate Sniper starting from gate five was given time to balance mid-field in the running line before going forward to park outside Barry Purdon’s A G’s White Socks (gate 7) which had taken over from stablemate Mark Shard (gate 6) after crossing another stablemate On The Cards (gate 4) .
There were no further moves until the bell when Chase Auckland went forward three wide from four back being trailed by Cruze Bromac, Thefixer and Triple Eight from the rear.
Cruising up to A G’s White Socks on turning, Ultimate Sniper showed great staying prowess to prevail by a neck from Mark Shard along the sprint lane, with Thefixer flashing home late for third a nose away a half neck in advance of Cruze Bromac and A G’s white Socks.
Running the journey in 3-14.7, Ultimate Sniper returned a mile rate of 1-56 (last half mile 55.2 – quarter 27.9).
Raced by a large ownership involving former Inter winners Phil and Glenys Kennard - Smolda & Lazarus), Gavin Douglas, Phil & Margaret Creighton and Kevin Riseley who had tasted victory with both Lennytheshark and Lazarus, Ultimate Sniper recorded his 14th success from 20 outings which include 3 placings and stakes of $842,793.
It was Natalie’s fifth Inter Grand Final after steering the great Blacks A Fake to victory in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010, while Mark Purdon has now figured as a trainer or driver four times Mark Hanover 1991 (D), Smolda 2016 (T/D) and Lazarus 2017 (T/D).
Five year old Majestic Son-Una Bromac gelding Winterfell, a top class youngster of his era after winning two heats, was victorious in the $150,000 HR Fisken & Sons Trotters Grand Final over 2700 metres in a time of 3-21.7.
Trained by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, Winterfell with Mark in the sulky began swiftly from gate two to lead, with Majestic Man (gate 4) crossing him shortly after to momentarily assume control. Coming away from the inside entering the front straight to once again take over, Winterfel was allowed to roll around unpressured with Sydneysider Tough Monarch outside him.
When Todd Mitchell went forward in the last lap from three back with Massive Metro to join him on straightening a blowout result looked eminent, however after the soft passage Winterfell defied all rivals to prevail by a half neck over Majestic Man along the sprint lane, with Massive Metro a nose away in third place.
In a last half of 58.3 – quarter 29, Winterfell raced by Lone Star Christchurch proprietor Trevor Casey returned a mile rate of 2-00.1.