Will Auckland Cup Be Parting Gift For All Stars?

28 December 2020 | Chris Barsby

Can they do it again?

The All-Stars juggernaut is chasing yet another Auckland Cup on New Year’s Eve at Alexandra Park following years of domination.

It could be a parting gift for their rivals and fans as the successful operation headed by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen are set to step away in 2021.

Without question, they are New Zealand’s most successful ever horse racing stable and made the shock announcement immediately after New Zealand Cup week back in November that left the industry stunned.

In doing so, All Stars Racing, the all-conquering harness racing stable will cease training in their homeland from December 31.

And the time is now.

The Gr.1 $200,000 Woodlands Stud Auckland Cup, a leg of the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit, takes place on Thursday night and the iconic stable will send out a trio of runners for the 3200m stand-start feature.

Representing the stable is star mare Amazing Dream plus class performers Spankem and Ashley Locaz.

The last mare to win the Auckland Cup was Dream About Me back in 2016.

It’s a fearsome attack on the North Island open class feature and the trio all boast excellent credentials.

The victory of Self Assured last year gave 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).

Two editions of the Auckland Cup were staged in 2015 with Christen Me winning the other version.

Unfortunately, a recent setback has robbed Self Assured of defending his title.

Big brother Barry Purdon has a dual-pronged attack on the Auckland Cup with Bad To The Bone and Mach Shard representing his Clevedon stables.

And Barry 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).

Last year, Mach Shard finished seventh behind Self Assured.

Pukekohe based horseman Ray Green could be the biggest threat to the All-Stars operation with his quality pacer Copy That, the beaten favourite in the New Zealand Cup back in November.

The American Ideal four-year-old entire will command plenty of respect from rivals plus punters.

Green and legendary driver Maurice McKendry are chasing their second Cup victory together after combining back in 2012 with Sir Lincoln.

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

Both pacers started in last years Cup behind Self Assured.

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

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

Champion horseman Tony Herlihy has driven eight Auckland Cup winners with his most recent coming back in 2008 behind Gotta Go Cullen, a pacer he prepared himself.

Representing his stable this year is Gambit, a talented son of Shadow Play.

Rugged stayer Thefixer, a runner-up last year behind Self Assured is looking to go one better and his recent form is very solid.

Since being under the care of beach trainer Regan Todd, Thefixer has returned to his old consistent form.

Promising pacer South Coast Arden tackles his biggest test to date, but recent efforts have been pleasing for trainer/driver Brent Mangos.

The $200,000 Woodlands Stud Auckland Cup is race 9 on the program and is listed to start at 8.15pm local time.

The field in barrier draw order.

Matt Damon

Copy That

Amazing Dream



Bad To The Bone

Mach Shard

Triple Eight

Ashley Locaz

Check In


South Coast Arden


Related News

18 January 2021
Ballarat Cup: Lochinvar Art draws 6 for TAB Summer of Glory opener
It is far from a surprise, but Lochinvar Art will start a commanding favourite for Saturday night’s Group 1 PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup. The five-year-old Chariots of Fire, Victoria Cup and Vicbred Super Series champion drew gate six tonight for the $110,000 TAB Summer of Glory, Grand Circuit...
18 January 2021
NSW: Trainor making his mark
HE may only have a small team in work, but former New Zealand reinsman Jack Trainor is really making his mark in the Sydney training ranks in recent months. After a long stretch working with leading trotting mentor Blake Fitzpatrick, Trainor decided to go it alone last year and has set up alongside another...
18 January 2021
Ballarat Cup: Watch the Barrier Draw live
Saturday's PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup looms as a classic and tonight's all-important barrier draw will shape the great race. Watch live as the gates are decided, hearing from some of the key players and leading form analysts as they dissect whether any horse can top the Shepparton superstar Lochinvar...
18 January 2021
Ballarat Cup: Local six to attempt to top the work of Art
Six locally-trained horses will look to halt the Lochinvar Art juggernaut in Saturday night’s $110,000 PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup, which will be drawn live on Harness Racing Victoria's Facebook page from 6.45pm tonight. Cardigan-based Emma Stewart has accepted for the race with four of her stars...
18 January 2021
Big Bets: Five-figure double as heavily-backed shorties salute
It was a great weekend for David Moran and those who followed him in, with two big plunges on his Shepparton stand-outs - Patsbeachstorm and Lochinvar Art - both turning big bets at modest odds into decent profits. Here are the TAB bets of note from the last seven days of harness racing in Victoria.
Click for more