Master: Mark Purdon
The 2019/20 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit has reached the halfway mark, four of the eight features have been run and won, and the All Stars operation owns it!
That shouldn’t shock anybody….that’s because this stable knows no bounds.
The powerful Christchurch based couple of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen struck again tonight (Tuesday) when race favourite Self Assured announced his arrival on the Grand Circuit with his all the way victory in the Gr.1 $250,000 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup at Alexandra Park defeating his stablemate Thefixer and Triple Eight in the 3200m stand-start classic.
The outstanding four-year-old joins his stablemates Ultimate Sniper (Inter Dominion) and Cruz Bromac (New Zealand Cup) as a winner of a Grand Circuit event this season.
The only feature they have missed this term is the Victoria Cup (Bling It On) and there’s a simple why, they didn’t have a representative.
In fact, of the past 28 Grand Circuit events staged, the All Stars have won 14.
That’s half or 50% in other terms.
Looking back, the super stable has contested 20 of the 28 Grand Circuit events during that period.
And of the 14 winners, there’s only one duplicate winner – the incomparable Lazarus!
The former champion won two New Zealand Cups, an Inter Dominion plus a Hunter and Victoria Cups.
Other Grand Circuit winners for the stable include Dream About Me (Auckland Cup), Smolda (Inter Dominion), Vincent (Auckland Cup), Spankem (Miracle Mile), Turn It Up (Auckland Cup), Thefixer (New Zealand Cup), Cruz Bromac (New Zealand Cup), Ultimate Sniper (Inter Dominion) and now Self Assured.
Since joining forces, the Purdon/Rasmussen combination has combined for a dozen (12) Grand Circuit pacing victories.
The victory of Self Assured (2019) gives the stable their fifth consecutive Auckland Cup following the triumphs of Have Faith In Me (2015*) Dream About Me (2016), Vincent (2017) and Turn It Up (2018).
Facing the starter for only the 10th time, Self Assured may have been lacking in experience but clearly displayed all of his class with his all the way victory.
Handled by Purdon, Self Assured withstood an early challenge from Classie Brigade and dictated terms thereafter with Thefixer camped right on his back throughout.
Chase Auckland made the first move and looped three wide before parking outside Self Assured.
The lead time was covered in 2:00.3.
Cruz Bromac made his move at the 1500m and parked outside his younger stablemate with 1200m left to run while Another Masterpiece tracked that move which left him outside the leader with 1100m left to run.
The first half of the final mile was covered in splits of 30.9 and 30.9 seconds.
Given the lack of early pressure, Self Assured traveled boldly down the back straight while Thefixer and Triple Eight bided their time on the inside.
The third quarter was covered in 27.8 seconds.
At the top of the straight, Purdon lifted the lines on Self Assured and he quickly responded by putting a gap on Thefixer and Triple Eight who both chased gamely.
In the end, Self Assured scored comfortably by 1.5 lengths over Thefixer with an identical margin back to Triple Eight in third.
The final quarter was a stunning 26.9 seconds.
The winning time was 3:59.4 – a winning mile rate of 2:00.3.
“He’s a little beauty.” Purdon immediately stated following the victory.
A winner of 8 races from 10 starts, Self Assured is raced by leviathan Australian based owner Jean Feiss who also raced 2017 winner Vincent.
The Bettors Delight – Star Of Venus gelding will now be readied for an extended Australian campaign with features in Melbourne and Sydney programmed.
The next leg of the 2019/20 APG Grand Circuit heads to Perth for the running of the $450,000 WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park on January 17.
A breeding side note of the 10 All Stars Grand Circuit winners, the stable is represented by only four (4) sires;
Lazarus by Bettors Delight
Dream About Me by Bettors Delight
Spankem by Bettors Delight
Thefixer by Bettors Delight
Ultimate Sniper by Bettors Delight
Self Assured by Bettors Delight
Smolda by Courage Under Fire
Turn It Up by Courage Under Fire
Vincent by Art Major
Cruz Bromac by Falcon Seelster
* Hoofnote – In 2015, there were two editions of the Auckland Cup – Have Faith In Me and Christen Me.