Stars shine out of the Purdon barn
Mark Purdon gave all his stars a tick after their first serious hit-out of the season at the Motukarara trials yesterday.
The Rolleston trainer's five New Zealand Trotting Cup nominees were all in action as a part of an 18-horse assault Purdon launched on the meeting.
Returning star Sleepy Tripp (Grant Payne) took out the heat after sitting parked for the last lap of the heat but there were good runs in behind from Major Mark (Brett Cusdin), Auckland Reactor (Mark Purdon), Sushi Sushi (Natalie Rasmussen) and Highview Tommy (Blair Orange).
A former Easter Cup winner, Sleepy Tripp was strong in his run to the line and will now head to the Hannon Memorial at Oamaru. He will be joined by Mah Sish who finished a good second in the heat. Talented mare Miss Elsie led throughout the heat and held on well to finish third. Purdon has nominated all five of his stars for the Hannon on Sunday, but said it was likely that only two would make the trip.
“Major Mark and Sleepy Tripp will definitely be going," Purdon said. “But we are really happy with all them, they are at different stages but all went nice out there today. Major Mark has been gelded and is a different horse, he's been working really well."
Australian star Sushi Sushi is an outside chance of heading to Oamaru.
Also in action out of the Purdon barn yesterday was reigning horse of the year I Can Doosit, who finished a solid second in his first public appearance.
The champion trotter played dodgems around a misbehaving runner early in the heat adding another 30-metres to his 20m handicap.
Driver Jeremy Markham moved him forward to sit outside leader Thanesan for the last lap and the pair ran to the line strongly with the Anthony Butt trained and driven runner doing better up the straight.
Butt said it was likely Thanesan would head to the Banks Peninsula Trotting Cup at the end of the month, but could also be in action at the Oamaru meeting. I Can Doosit will have his first race in the Banks Peninsula grass track feature in preparation for the only race which eluded him last year - the Dominion Handicap.