Father and son combine for Queensland Derby success
Winning a Queensland Derby was never going to be one of Mark Purdon's biggest victories but it was one of the more sentimental.
Three generations of Purdons were on track at Albion Park to see More The Better win the Group II race on Saturday night.
Hall of Fame trainer Roy Purdon was in Queensland to see his son drive and train the winner.
The former champion trainer part owns More The Better, racing as The More The Better across the Tasman, with good friend Sir David Levene and Mark Purdon.
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Also on course on Saturday night was Mark's sons Nathan and Michael.
"That definitely did make it a lot more special to have everyone there," Mark Purdon said of the sentimental victory.
More The Better beat home Shartin by a long neck with a further length back to former Kiwi My Casino Belle in third.
Purdon, who trains in partnership with Natalie Rasmussen, has now produced More The Better for a perfect three wins from as many starts in his Queensland campaign. His two previous wins came in Group III races the Premiers Cup and the Provincial Derby.
More The Better was scheduled to head to Victoria for the Breeders Crown series but Purdon said he was holding off on a final decision after Saturday's night's run took its toll on the Bettor's Delight colt when he pulled a shoe in the running.
"We'll just wait and see how he is in the next few days and make a decision from there," Purdon said.
Purdon and Rasmussen's Breeders Crown team has already taken a significant cut with the retirement of soon to be named three-year-old filly of the year Spanish Armada.
The six-time Group I winner has suffered a fracture of a fetlock joint and the decision was made not to risk the valuable breeding prospect.
Purdon said it was disappointing for everyone involved, including Jean Feiss who raced Spanish Armada, but acknowledged the Bettor's Delight filly out of Christian Cullen mare Galleons Supreme had achieved more in two seasons than most do in a lifetime.
She was retired with stake earnings of $787,470 from 19 starts that produced 14 wins, one second and three thirds.
Bred by Woodlands Stud, Spanish Armada was purchased by Feiss, who has since sold the breeding rights, for $75,000 at the 2015 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale.
Purdon said there was no doubt she would have been good enough to take on the boys in open class company in the future had she not been injured.
The news was a bitter blow for the All Stars stable who last week retired reigning Inter Dominion champion Smolda.
"That was a sad day. Smolda will always hold a special place in our hearts," Purdon said.
In Saturday night's feature at Albion Park, Hectorjayjay upset the Kiwi contingent to win the Group I Blacks A Fake by a length.
The Tim Butt trained Field Marshal finished second, another length ahead of former Kiwi and New Zealand Trotting Cup runner-up Tiger Tara in third.
The race was named after four times Inter Dominion champion Blacks A Fake, who was trained and driven throughout his career by Rasmussen.