NZ HARNESS NEWS,
February 18, 2018
LAZARUS BEATEN AT MENANGLE
The defeat of champion pacer Lazarus was the talking point on a mixed night for New Zealand trained and owned horses at Menangle in Sydney on Saturday night.
He still managed to secure an invite to next week’s Miracle Mile after running third in the Group 1 Canadian Club sprint, a race where only the first two place-getters were assured spots in the big dance.
His stablemates Heaven Rocks (last), All U Need Is Faith (fourth) and Bare Knuckle (sixth) were also beaten and failed to qualify for next week’s Miracle Mile, New South Wales Derby and Oaks respectively.
The Devils Own managed to scrape in to the Derby with a third placing for Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, but he will be down the favouritism pecking order behind impressive heat wins Poster Boy, Maraetai and Colt Thirty One.
Purdon noted midweek that their team had been affected by a minor bug and it showed with Lazarus and All U Need Is Faith clearly below their best while Heaven Rocks sat last from the unruly and never made any sort of impression.
Lazarus, who started a white-hot $1.30 favourite from gate one, was crossed early by noted speedster Mach Doro, who then handed up to eventual winner Tiger Tara (who clocked 1:51.5, last 800m in 54.2s, 400m in 26.4s).
Purdon was quickly off the markers to sit parked for the trip, and he did manage to get past Mach Doro in the straight, by Field Marshal sprinted past him down the straight to secure second.
The latter, trained by Tim Butt, is safely in the Miracle Mile and the now Sydney-based horseman could yet have two in the race with gun four-year-old Let It Ride the first emergency after his Chariots Of Fire placing.
Butt’s good filly Lady Chatto ran last in her Oaks heat while his brother, Anthony, drove New Zealand-owned pacer Moonrock in to fourth behind Anything For Love in the other Miracle Mile qualifier, run in 1.48.7.
It wasn’t quite enough for the Sonya Smith-trained pacer to earn an invite and connections had to settle for the second emergency slot.
Rocker Band put in an improved performance for Mark Jones, running third in the Robin Dundee Stakes, and a start in the Ladyship Mile next week could be in the offing alongside Delishka and Piccadilly Princess.
Miracle Mile invitees: Anything For Love, Soho Tribeca, Charlaval, Tiger Tara, My Field Marshal, Lazarus, Lennytheshark, Jilliby Kung Fu. Emergencies: Let It Ride, Atomic Red.
Ronald J bleeds, stood down
Classy trotter Ronald J was stood down for 30 days at Addington on Friday night after being observed to bleed from one nostril.
The rangy square-gaiter finished seventh in the Summer Trotting Free For All (Group 3) in the hands of Bob Butt for driver Paul Nairn.
He must trial to the satisfaction of stewards before he can resume racing.
Rasmussen fined $500 for whip use
Driver Natalie Rasmussen was hit with a $500 fine by the Judicial Control Authority for excessive use of the whip at Addington on Friday night.
Driving the filly she co-trains, Elle Mac, Rasmussen was found to been in breach of the whip regulations and with the race being worth $160,000, a heftier penalty was issued.
Rasmussen is currently driving under a stay of proceedings after appealing a three-week suspension for drive behind Heaven Rocks in the Hunter Cup a fortnight ago.
Four for Dunn but 1500 for Orange
The battle of New Zealand’s leading driver was in full swing at Addington on Friday night as the premiership battle continued.
After driving seven winners at Palmerston North during the week, Orange reined home two more – Arnold and Ocean Ridge – to tick over 1500 New Zealand driving wins.
Not to be outdone, Dunn took centre stage and drove four of the last six winners on the card, including two feature wins with Pat’s Delight and Bettor Joy.
- NZ Harness News