New Zealand trainers Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan pulled off the ultimate team work double at Addington yesterday.
The pair capped a wonderful last 14 months at the home of Canterbury harness racing when Merlin led throughout to win Garrard NZ Pacing Derby on Grand Prix Day a race after stablemate Duchess Megxit won the group 1 Ace Of Diamonds for juvenile pacing fillies.
Graham Dwyer feels like he already won.
While that feeling won’t pay off in cold hard cash for the punters who back favourite Not As Promised in Sunday’s $110,000 King Of The North NZ Trotting Derby, for Dwyer just being in New Zealand for the classic as as good as a victory.
Oscar Bonavena may have been handed a shot at a most unlikely NZ Trotter of the Year title at Addington on Sunday.
There wouldn’t have been a day in 2023 that Muscle Mountain hasn’t been considered our best trotter and he still is but he will now miss Sunday’s $110,000 Livamol NZ Trotting Free-For-All after a slight setback and won’t race again this year.
Two-time New Zealand Cup hero Copy That is off to Australia again but not to race this time.
The wonderful pacer missed his shot at a NZ Cup three-peat when he went sore with a knee issue and potential other concerns a few weeks before the Cup but trainer Ray Green says things are looking up.
New Zealand’s first squaregaiting slot race is confirmed and already has its first position filled.
On face value Addington’s iconic Show Day meeting yesterday looked like any other major race meeting.
It was anything but.
Peruse the results and you would see superstar trainers Mark and Nathan Purdon trained the winners of both the $300,000 Dominion with Oscar Bonavena and the $200,000 New Zealand Pacing Free-For-All with Self Assured.
A gear change has awoken the giant that is Muscle Mountain and it should be enough for him to overcome his second line starting point in today’s $300,000 Dominion at Addington.
And it helps that for all the depth of the field his main dangers have at least the slightest of doubts over them.
New Zealand’s most important and historic harness race got a shot of Aussie adrenalin at maybe the perfect time when Swayzee smashed the locals in the $750,000 IRT New Zealand Cup at Addington on Tuesday.
The New South Wales pacer won the tactical early battle over Canterbury favourite Akuta and was able to stroll to the lead after a lap, from where he never looked like being beaten.
Big fields and plenty of the favourites copping difficult draws have produced a New Zealand Trotting Cup day at Addington with more value than usual.
Unbeaten filly Millwood Nike may start the only odds-on favourite all day so here is a race-by-race look at the best plays on harness racing’s biggest day.
There is a word for what Akuta has going for him in today’s $750,000 IRT New Zealand Trotting Cup at Addington.
That word is: everything.
There is also a word for the thing that can undo Akuta in the Cup.
That word is: Swayzee.
Old Town Road’s tilt at the IRT New Zealand Cup is back on track after a slick private workout at Addington on Friday morning.
The Cup third favourite missed the Cup trial on Wednesday as trainer John Dickie battled to get him over a skin infection but he is confident that is now behind him.
As bad barrier draws go this is as good as it gets for Akuta in Tuesday’s NZ$750,000 IRT New Zealand Cup at Addington.
The hot favourite will start from wide on the second in the 3200m, which hardly sounds ideal but co-trainer Nathan Purdon isn’t worried for two reasons.
The passing of the New Zealand Cup baton may be complete after 2000 winner Self Assured was ruled out of the race on Wednesday night.
Co-trainer Mark Purdon confirmed the $2million earner will not be starting in the IRT-sponsored Cup at Addington on November 14 after two lacklustre recent efforts.
Two imposing victories less than 24 hours apart have left the New Zealand Trotting Cup feeling like a two-horse race.
Of course it isn’t. The $750,000 Cup at Addington on November 14 will probably have its usual 15 starters but punters may now only have eyes for two.
North Island of NZ pacer Old Town Road is good at something he probably has no right to be good at.
Whether that is enough to win today’s NZ$60,000 Alabar Kaikoura Cup could come down to the manners and tactics of his key rivals.
The Alabar Kaikoura Cup on Monday is shaping as the definitive New Zealand Cup lead-up in more ways than one.
Most of the realistic New Zealand Cup hopes for 15 days later will be in the Kaikoura feature over 2400m, the three most obvious absentees being B D Joe and the Australian stars Swayzee and Spirit Of St Louis.
Punters now know what trainer Mark Purdon has suspected for a while: New Zealand’s best pacer Akuta has gone to another level.
The four-year-old pacer is into $1.80 to win the IRT New Zealand Cup at Addington on November 14 after smashing his rivals in the Flying Stakes at Ashburton yesterday.
A young driver who sits just 42nd on the New Zealand premiership has been handed the hottest of hot seats at Ashburton today.
Olivia Thornley will partner three of the brightest stars trained by her bosses Mark and Nathan Purdon after Mark was suspended until New Zealand Cup eve.
Australasia’s first trotting slot race looks set to become reality with a NZ$655,000 feature planned for Cambridge next April.
Champion Mark Purdon is unusually excited about this weekend’s racing and not just because of the return of three of his pacing superstars on Friday night.