Is It The All Stars Auckland Cup Again?

28 December 2019 | Chris Barsby

The Auckland Cup trophy should be draped in the colours of blue and silver.

Those colours reflect the famous livery of the All Stars stable, the biggest and best harness racing operation in the world!

And just like many other features on the calendar in the southern hemisphere, the Alexandra Park feature is another that they’ve made their own in recent years.

Their winners include Turn It Up (2018), Vincent (2017), Dream About Me (2016) and Have Faith In Me (2015) – two editions of the Auckland Cup were staged in 2015 with Christen Me winning the other version.

In 2017, they provided the trifecta result while having the winner and third last year.

Champion mare Adore Me was a runner-up behind Terror To Love (2014) and also Christen Me.

Mark Purdon has also prepared previous winners Sharp And Telford (1996), Young Rufus (2002) and Auckland Reactor (2009).

And when assessing the 2019 Auckland Cup, the All Stars stable of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen is the team to beat with five of the 11 starters.

The numbers are identical to the Inter Dominion Pacing Grand Final staged at this track three weeks ago where they had five of the 12 starters.

And as history proves, the all-conquering stable ended up with the winner plus 3rd, 4th, 6th and 10th.

Can they better that result in the Auckland Cup?

Representing the stable is Thefixer, Another Masterpiece, Self Assured, Cruz Bromac and Chase Auckland.

Three of the above mentioned started in the Inter Dominion Grand Final with Thefixer, Cruz Bromac and Chase Auckland all chasing their rampaging stablemate in Ultimate Sniper and loom as legitimate winning threats in the New Year’s Eve feature.

Unfortunately, Ultimate Sniper succumbed to injury immediately after his Inter Dominion demolition and will not take his place in the 3200m stand start classic.

The Inter Dominion and Auckland Cup are vastly different events; the switch goes from a 2700m mobile start to a standing start over the grueling two miles.

But the All Stars still hold the trump cards.

And the biggest ace in their pack is wildly exciting four-year-old Self Assured, a brilliant last start winner on Inter Dominion Grand Final night in a support race.

Interestingly, if he proves successful he will join Turn It Up as a winner of the North Island feature with limited experience.

Remarkably, Self Assured has won 7 of his 9 starts while Turn It Up proved triumphant at just his ninth start.

Big brother Barry is also well represented with On The Cards and Mach Shard both representing his stable.

Both pacers started in the recent Inter Dominion Grand Final with Mach Shard a terrific second while On The Cards finished at the rear of the field.

But Barry Purdon is no stranger to Auckland Cup success with previous winners including Sole Command (1978), Comedy Lad (1986), Luxury Liner (1987/88), Christopher Vance (1991), Chokin (1993/94) and Holmes DG (2001).

Astute mentor Steve Telfer is also duly represented with Check In and Triple Eight lining up in the feature.

Triple Eight comes out of the Inter Dominion Grand Final when placed 8th while Check In finished third behind Another Masterpiece and Classie Brigade in the consolation at his most recent start.

Dual Auckland Cup winner Robert Dunn (Bolton Byrd 1976 & Master Musician 1992) is represented by Classie Brigade and will be driven by his John.

The last time the Dunn surname features in the Auckland Cup honour roll was 2015 when Robert’s other son Dexter, now North American based, took the winning drive behind Christen Me.

Star Galleria, a runner-up last year behind Turn It Up will take his place again and like many, comes out of the recent Inter Dominion series.

The Steven Reid trained pacer finished fifth behind Another Masterpiece at his most recent start.

No mares are starting in the Cup this year.

The $250,000 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup is race 9 on the program and is listed to start at 8.08pm local time.

Currently, Cruz Bromac leads the way in the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit with 160 points and could set-up a tidy lead if successful as we approach the halfway point of the season.