MARK PURDON EXTENDS WELCOME STAKES RECORD
Top juvenile Major Mark produced a houdini magic act along the sprint lane to win a dramatic $80,000 “Stallion Station” NZ Welcome Stakes at Addington on Friday April 15.
The speedy Art Major colt was all dressed up with nowhere to go three back on the markers turning for home in the Group One 2YO feature.
Photo: The gap comes for Major Mark to dash past Amazing Art and Night Of The Stars in the $80,000 “Stallon Station” NZ Welcome Stakes at Addington.
Co-trainer-driver Mark Purdon had no option but to wait for an inch gap late in the piece. He was almost there, locked stays briefly with Amazing Art, then surged brilliantly inside the final 30m to win by a head.
Major Mark’s owners had joked to Purdon that he would need a “crowbar” from his inside back row draw to get a run in the Welcome and they were nearly right.
He was racking up his 5th win in 7 starts for $165,123 in stakes for owners Phil and Glenys Kennard, Neil Pilcher, Gavin Douglas and Phil Creighton.
The latter is also a co-owner of Matt Maguire, who tangled when trying to work into the three wide line with 900m to run.
Major Mark credited co-trainer Purdon with his 4th straight Welcome Stakes win as a trainer or co-trainer, and his 8th training win in the juvenile classic.
Photo: Major Mark, with a new dress rug after taking the Welcome Stakes.
His honour roll for the Welcome began when he drove Mark Hanover (then trained by Roy and Barry) to win in 1989, followed by training wins with Bogan Fella (1996), Light And Sound (2002), Advance Attack (2004), Ohoka Arizona (2007), Highview Tommy (2008), Kotare Mach (2009) and now Major Mark.
Mark Purdon and co-trainer Grant Payne also won the NZ Trotting Oaks at Addington with Emma Hamilton, and an Auckland Nevele R series with Lancome in NZ record time on Friday night.
PARADISE CITY UPSETS IN CADUCEUS
Kentuckiana Lodge filly Bettor Move It (Todd Mitchell), after working from an outside gate over her opening 600m (first 800m in 57s) to lead in the Caduceus, tired to run 5th behind upset winner Paradise City (Bettor’s Delight-Child In Time) in Friday’s $131,219 Nevele R Stud Caduceus Club Classic at Auckland.
Paradise City, trained at Christchurch by breeder Barry ward, led out, then trailed after 600m for driver Jamie Keast. They found the line strongly to hold Bettor Cover Lover (three back outer) by a half a neck in 2:43.7 (1:59.7 mile rate) for the 2200m.
The Purdon/Payne-trained Highview Ebony was 5 1/2 lengths back 3rd with stablemate Collectable (half-sister to About Ambition), checked early, staging an almost unbelievable recovery for 4th.
LANCOME SETS NZ RECORD
Speedy Courage Under Fire filly Lancome sizzled to beat the 11-year NZ record of Tupelo Rose over 1700m at Alexandra Park on Friday night.
Lancome, catch-driven by Tony Herliihy for trainers Mark Purdon and Grant Payne, paced the sprint journey in 2:01.4 (1:54.9 mile rate) in the $20,000 Nevele R 3YO Fillies Heat.
Tupelo Rose set the previous mark of 2:01.7 at Auckland when winning the NZ Sires’ Stakes 3YO Fillies Championship in December, 1999.
The In The Pocket mare went on to win 35 races in NZ, Aust & the US, and $1.146 million lifetime during her career.
Lancome held stablemate Secret Potion by a neck, running her last 800m in 56.1s and final 400m in 27.7s.
By Jeff Scott