By Duane Ranger
Racing Queensland is about to be hit by the ‘Blue Army’.
Four pacers from New Zealand’s most powerful stable will arrive here on Sunday 16th June in preparation for the 2019 TAB Queensland Winter Racing Carnival.
Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen’ ‘All Stars Stable’ have won every NZ training premiership since Rasmussen joined the team in 2012. They have trained 115 winners so far this season – 17 more than second-placed, Robert Dunn.
Purdon said Princess Tiffany, Jesse Duke, Self Assured, and Speech Is Silver would be heading to Albion Park. However, Rasmussen won’t be joining Purdon in her home State.
“Natalie probably won’t be coming but I’ll bring the four horses over. I’m just so happy that Natalie won her appeal last week. That has been a huge burden off our hands. That was very pleasing,” Purdon said.
Rasmussen was originally disqualified for two months after her drive behind Chase Auckland in the Miracle Mile in Sydney in February.
“Once the Jewels were over we flew to Australia to fight the appeal and thankfully she won. Now we can concentrate on the racing ahead. I’m looking forward to the warm weather in Queensland,” Purdon said.
Purdon and Rasmussen’s stranglehold on Group One Jewels Finals continued at Addington Raceway in Christchurch on June 1 when they won five of the nine Jewels crowns that were up for grabs.
The Purdon driven Jesse Duke won the last $150,000 race of the day – the 3-year-old colts and geldings Emerald Pace. That son of Bettor’s Delight and Daisy Dundee (by In The Pocket) is booked for Sunday’s flight to Brisbane.
However enjoy the winner of eight of his 20 starts ($437,628) while you can. The gifted bay colt is destined for the United States after the Winter Carnival.
Purdon said the three-time Group One winner has been sold by Victoria’s Bill and Jean Feiss to American-based former Kiwi trainer, Chris Ryder. He said Jesse Duke would continue to race for them in he near future.
“The Group One $75,000 Queensland Derby at Albion Park on July 20 is now his main target,” Purdon said.
Last month’s New Zealand Oaks champion, and multiple Group One winning filly, Princess Tiffany, will also come to compete in the Group One $75,000 Queensland Oaks on July 13.
That 3-year-old daughter of Art Major and Dancing Diamonds (by Bettor’s Delight) has won nine of her 21 starts and $343,276 for her owners Braeden and Caroline Whitelock – who are incidentally the parents of All Black forwards Sam and Luke Whitelock.
“She’s a lovely filly who has really measured up in her 2 and 3-year-old campaigns. Even though she has never been to Brisbane before, I think she will continue to do well in Australia.
“The filly has raced well there before having won four out of four, including two Group Ones – the New South Wales Oaks in March and last year’s Breeders Crown Final in Melbourne.
The Feiss owned Self Assured, who is unbeaten in two starts, will also target the Queensland Derby.
“We are also bringing over Speech In Silver. He’s a lightly raced (three starts) Mach Three 4-year-old who last raced in November. He will remain in Australia after the Carnival,” Purdon said.
“I enjoy coming to Queensland. We have done okay there in the past. We probably would have brought a few more over but none of our horses are QBRED, which is a shame.
“I’m really looking forward to it and I think our horses will go well over there,” Purdon said from his Rolleston (south Christchurch) base.
Two years ago Purdon and Rasmussen won the Group two Queensland Derby with More The Better. That son of Bettor’s Delight also won the Group Three Provincial Derby and the Premiers Cup at Albion Park in July 2017.
They also triumphed with Best Deal Yet in the Queensland Derby and Premiers Cup Final in 2012.