NZ HARNESS NEWS
Champion trainer Mark Purdon has made a statement that will send a collective shiver down the connections of rivals of his two runners in this weekend’s Fremantle Cup in Western Australia.
Purdon who, along with training partner Natalie Rasmussen, will slip a sulky onto both Lazarus and Ultimate Machete on Friday night for the A$300,000 Group One event, has revealed that both horses have improved off the back of their equally-impressive victories on the same track a week ago.
For Lazarus alone that would be enough to have some trainers throwing their hands up in defeat after his demolition job last Friday night, but the inclusion of rising star Ultimate Machete as well will have many scrambling.
“We have had a good week here,” Purdon said on his website.
“I was happy with both the Cup horses runs last Friday and they have both improved.”
Purdon has been overseeing the Perth team this week with travelling stable foreman, Matt Bowden now domiciled in Melbourne with the strong team they now have based there, following a successful Auckland Cup carnival at Alexandra Park.
Rasmussen will join Purdon later this week and will take the reins on Ultimate Machete, who she piloted to win the New Zealand Free-For-All earlier this season and also the Sires’ Stakes Final as a three-year-old.
It’s a big step up for the four-year-old, who is currently unbeaten in three starts in Western Australia.
“His win maybe looked harder than what it was,” Purdon said of last week’s effort.
“He has improved with that and from the draw should get his chance.”
Lazarus, who will start from barrier five compared to Ultimate Machete’s barrier two, looked to have shown no ill effects from his Inter Dominion Series with his 12-metre demolition job in a A$22,000 race last week.
“Lazarus is pretty amazing really,” Purdon said.
“He won it in such style last week and he has gone ahead again from there and worked really good this morning (Wednesday).
“He should be ready for a really top effort.”
While expected to dominate the race (Lazarus is $1.40 with some bookmakers in Australia), the All Stars duo won’t get it all their own way with some strong local resistance ready to try and repel the challenge.
Soho Tribeca, who raced so well during the Inter Dominion Series, will have to start from the outside of the front line, while the explosive Vultan Tin has the gate to try and cause havoc early.
Noted speedster Bettors Fire has drawn the ace and driver Kyle Harper will almost certain try and lead all the way with him.
Legendary WA trainer Gary Hall Snr has a three-strong hand in the race with Chicago Bull, My Hard Copy and former Kiwi, Ohoka Punter.
- NZ Harness News
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