It wasn’t pretty but the result was achieved.
Champion horseman Mark Purdon secured another major trophy when Winterfell proved successful in the Gr.1 $150,000 HR Fisken & Sons Inter Dominion Trotting Grand Final at Alexandra Park, Auckland tonight defeating Majestic Man and Massive Metro in the 2700m feature.
But it was torrid and nervous time for Purdon throughout running.
The Majestic Son five-year-old gelding struggled to trot smoothly, in particular, on the bends which left Purdon nursing the race favourite and even allowing him to be headed in the home straight before digging deep to fight off the late challengers.
The victory provided Purdon with his sixth Inter Dominion Trotters Grand Final after scoring previously with the likes of Pride Of Petite (x 2), Buster Hanover and I Can Doosit (x 2).
Beginning nicely from gate two, Purdon allowed Winterfell to stride freely at the start but was unable to match the flying strides of Majestic Man who crossed to the marker line.
Rather than sitting in the pocket spot, Purdon kept Winterfell moving forward and reclaimed the premier position passing the 2100m marker.
Highly regarded trotter Paramount King raced roughly soon after the start.
The lead time was covered in 83.2 seconds.
With Winterfell setting the speed, Sydney trotter Tough Monarch raced without cover while Majestic Man lurked dangerously behind the leader and race favourite.
The first half of the final mile was covered in 60.2 seconds with splits of 30.5 and 29.7.
Heading down the back straight for the final time, Winterfell started to increase the pressure while Purdon held him together.
Star trotter Marcoola made a break passing the 700m mark as Massive Metro commenced his move forward three wide.
After trotting the third quarter in 29.3 seconds, Purdon allowed Massive Metro too momentarily to hit the lead as Purdon made sure his trotter remained safe in his action.
In the straight, the staying prowess shone through as Winterfell fought back to head Massive Metro while defying the late bid of Majestic Man via the passing lane.
Winterfell lasted by a half neck margin from Majestic Man while Massive Metro was a nose away in third.
The winning time was 3:21.6 – the mile rate was 2:00.1 with the final quarter timed in 28.9 seconds.
“I was very nervous.” Purdon declared.
“He just didn’t handle the corners - particularly the last corner - I just had to nurse him to keep him trotting.”
Winterfell is raced by his breeder, Trevor Casey and now takes his record to 12 wins from 25 starts while his earnings go past $360,000.
The next leg of the 2019/20 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters is the $250,000 What The Hill Great Southern Star at TABCORP Park, Melton on February 1.