Sydney’s premier evening of Harness Racing was dominated by the most dominant stable, perhaps of any code in any part of the globe.
All Stars co-trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen cleaned up the New South Wales Oaks, Ladyship Mile and ran a quinella in the $1 million Miracle Mile. And just for good measure, Rasmussen took out the Lady Drivers Invitational whilst All U Need Is Faith won the get-out stakes with Purdon in the bike.
From a tipping point of view, things went pretty well so I hope a few of you joined in the fun. Here’s how we went;
Race 1 – Natalie Rasmussen looked after us as we nailed The Bus in race one at $4.
Race 2 – Victorian Big Jack Hammer saluted at $4.40 which meant after races one and two we were bound for a profit.
Race 3 – Finding Princess Tiffany was easy but we also landed Arabella Star for a place and she paid handsomely at $4.10.
Race 4 – No joy here as I was publicly slandering Dream About Me’s chances to anyone who’d listen. She made a fool outta me!
Race 5 – No real joy here but we did have the winner, Max Delight, in the top four and he paid $71 fixed odds so I hope someone found him.
Race 6 – No joy here but we did have the winner and Ashley Locaz in the picks.
Race 7 – Landed the boxed the trifecta in the major race which paid $55. Nothing to sneeze at but not an enormous yield.
Race 8 – Found the quinella which paid $5.
Race 9 – Did not tip in the last race but rest assured I was on All U Need Is Faith, especially after the dominance All Stars had already had on the night.
Here’s my wrap up of the final night of the Carnival of Miracles;
Winner – The Bus (Natalie Rasmussen for Mark Jones)
Rasmussen begun what was to be a magical night as she zoomed The Bus off the arm and kept the lead throughout. Wrangler, driven by Kima Frenning, got to the breeze but could never get past the leader despite looking likely at the 200m mark. Kate Gath had Redbank Addi humming late but all honours to Mark Jones’ charge.
Winner – Big Jack Hammer (Anthony Butt for David Aiken)
Taking the drive for David Aiken, Anthony Butt settled Big Jack Hammer in the one-one and when the trail horse broke stride, Big Jack was able to get into the race as the leading two horses tired. It took him until the last 50m but Big Jack Hammer became a multiple Group 1-winning horse.
Winner – Princess Tiffany (Natalie Rasmussen for All Stars) MR 1:53.4
She was never meant to be here and the other nine participants wished she wasn’t. Princess Tiffany destroyed her rivals with a commanding and brilliant 16m victory. Victorian outsiders Tangoingwithsierra and Arabella Star ran great races to fill the placings but the New Zealander is back to her devastating best and the rest are lengths behind.
Winner – Dream About Me (Mark Purdon for All Stars) MR 1:50.4
Many thought, especially me, Dream About Me would be in a world of pain due to a lack of gate speed. How wrong I was! Purdon got the wonderful mare off the arm and she held them with ease. That job was made a touch easier when almost nothing tried to launch off the gate and from there it was a procession.
She won by a couple of lengths with Major Occasion continuing her good form whilst Bridget Blue Chip and Soho Burning Love ensured the first four dividends would be huge.
Fittingly, Dream About Me was retired post-race with more than $1.3 million in the bank and a rich broodmare career awaiting.
Winner – Max Delight (Todd McCarthy for David Aiken) MR 1:51.5
I’d say some of these three-year-olds will still be asleep after what was a brutally run race. Max Delight – the eventual winner – and Lochinvar Art blasted off the arm before Muscle Factory took over the lead with favourite Centenario in the breeze. Staggeringly, the second and third quarters were 27.8 seconds which meant both favourites were completely gone entering the lane.
The amazing part was Lochinvar Art and Max Delight still had enough in the tank to charge toward the line as Malcolm’s Rhythm exploded into second place. Muscle Factory reported lame after the race and fellow popular pick Hurricane Harley was never involved. The 1:51.5 rate for 2400m was another world record for classic-aged horses but was set up by some ferocious splits through the early part of the last mile.
Winner – Our Uncle Sam (Chris Frisby for Anthony Frisby) MR 1:52.3
A race of great depth and quality was taken out by the horse who deserved it the most. New South Wales pacer Our Uncle Sam had performed extraordinarily throughout the Inter Dominion series and Hunter Cup but Group 1 glory had eluded him.
With Majordan crossing and leading, Chris Frisby made the race winning decision to go sit outside the leader for the last lap. He easily accounted for Majordan and held off Ashley Locaz and a slashing late run from Ellmers Image.
The five-year-old son of Sportswriter has had an amazing season, capped off with the Bohemia Crystal crown.
Winner – Spankem (Mark Purdon for All Stars) MR 1:47.7
On paper this race was even and loaded with winning hopes. On the track, it was a procession thanks to some Mark Purdon magic and a progressive horse who has taken open class racing in his stride.
Shockingly, Tiger Tara went back early, as did My Field Marshal who was retired from the race less than 800m in and Poster Boy meekly handed the front to Thefixer.
Stable mate Spankem came calling next and once he took the front, he never gave it back. His last half mile was paced in 52.6, an amazing show of speed and stamina for a four-year-old who was supposed to be going home to New Zealand less than a month ago.
Chase Auckland enjoyed a cosy trip and ran past Tiger Tara up the straight to claim fourth whilst Poster Boy filled out the podium with an honest performance, despite never looking a winner.
Winner – Mach Dan (Chris Alford for Emma Stewart) MR 1:52.9
Luke McCarthy, aboard the heavily backed The Tiger Army, strode to the lead and looked a good thing before Mach Dan erupted late to comfortably handle them in a slick rate for the babies.
Mach Dan, unbeaten in two runs, again proved Emma Stewart’s ability to produce talented two-year-olds and whilst this fella is obviously above average, it’s safe to say they will have a few more hot on his heels.
Winner – All U Need Is Faith (Mark Purdon for All Stars) MR 1:55.4
Mark Purdon capped off a superb night personally as well as for his stable guiding All U Need Is Faith to an easy all the way win in the last race on Miracle Mile night.
He was able to escape with 30-second splits early before ripping home in 26.3 seconds to easily account for Hail Christian and Wardan Express.
The win was All Stars’ fourth of the night – an incredible feat!