"PILCH" PASSES -
ALL STARS GREATEST SUPPORTER, NEIL PILCHER, DIES.
SHORT HOSPITAL STAY -AND HE WENT OUT A WINNING OWNER
Neil, who has been in indifferent health for some time, suffered severe back pain late in the week and was removed to hospital on Thursday. The family, including his wife, Rose were summoned on Friday evening and he passed early on Saturday morning . His last runner, Mach Up, had been a winner for Mark at Addington a few hours before. He was 80
for a longer obituary for Neil click on the Vale Neil Pilcher Page
SHEZ ALL ROCK MAKES HISTORY AT ADDINGTON -226 G1 WINS!
* FIRST echelon of Harness Jewels conadiates leave on Wednesday-more next Sunday
Last minute phone call to Australia was a key to first ever win for an Australian bred filly in NZ Oaks to complete a unique treble
A little worried about what to expect on the,night Mark made a call to former trainer Mark Pitt "in case there was something I needed to know"
As he noted in his preview he was concerned the filly had had little time to adjust and might need the race
"I asked Mark what he thought. He said he had taken her to the races before when he thought she was a run short of her best and she had surprised him and won easily. So that changed my thinking a little about the race and so it proved. "
Shez All Rock headed an All Stars G1 trifecta. and as NATALIE conceded post race from Elle Mac. "she was just too good. We had our chance to win it. Not quite good enough on the night. The Jewels will be interesting now!"
TIM rued the ace draw and the way his options went. "It just went against us. I knew I couldn't win fighting off all the charges but didn't expect to get that far back. It took us out of it really"
NATHAN was thrilled with Bettor Trix "She felt great all the way. We had to do a bit of work but she just kicked on real good. She seems to have turned a corner.
NEWS AND VIEWS
JESSE DUKE PROVED two things in his Sires Stakes win on Friday. One, he is the goods even though he has had his doubters at times. Two, Mark Purdon is such a great trainer that sometimes you can forget how great a big race driver he is. In fact there is no better.
When ANOTHER MASTERPIECE got an easy lead (well easy for a Sires Stakes Final) and then Jesse Duke ended up parked with WAR DAN DELIGHT and A BETTOR ACT handy it looked like another big night for Tim. But it came down to a ding dong battle and the parked horse beat the lead horse, narrowly, but well. The win owed a lot to Mark's summing up of the race.
"The way it was shaping there didn't seem much point in getting back and running on. It was not going to give him a chance to win. The pace wasn't all that fierce so I moved up there and then Johnny Dunn gave Tim some pressure down the back and we were in the right place with that fast (54.6) 800m. . That quarter down the back probably made the difference in the end. " Yes, that -and an expert reading a race.
Jesse Duke was notable from day one because of his sale topping sales price by fearless Jean Feiss who now has husband Bill as a partner in the youngster . He joins Spankem, the Jean Feiss- owned Chase the Dream, and More the Better as successive SS final winners . Jesse Duke has now won both the Group One two year old open features having won the Young Guns earlier.
All Stars has twice before provided the trifecta in the race -in 2015 and 2016 - providing four of the first five the second time. Mark has driven the last three winners and was a part-owner of More the Better which was on sold to the US last week.
Although Another Masterpiece was narrowly beaten the Two Year old of the Year could yet be on line in the Harness Jewels. Exciting times ahead
HERE AND THERE
Danny Zavitsanos and his wife, Joanna, had a memorable trip from Melbourne to Addington on Friday when their purchase, Enhance Your Calm, nailed the $80,000 Sires Stakes Championship for two year old trotters, a triumph which underlined Mark's skills as a driver in top races. And of course his judgement of horses. He trialled Enhance Your Calm when Gavin Smith placed him ln the market and recommended the youngster to Danny who had had other runners in All Stars but not with success at this level.
"We took a couple back home and they have done well enough but we have been hoping for something better here and this is a thrill" said Danny who owns around 40 horses most with the "War Dan" prefix. They include War Dan Delight the promising two year old who ran in the Sires Stakes Final. He had had an interrupted preparation and is a lot better than that run showed. Both youngsters look tough propositiions in the Jewels.
The supporters of the hot favourite- and probably Danny and Joanna-, had some moments of suspense when Enhance Your Calm was headed around the 500m peg as Oscar Bonavena worked hard on the fave and took control.
But Mark was playing a waiting game.
"I just thought we were going too hard at that stage. I thought the other horse had done quite a bit of work and it might tell on him late so I saved something for the last bit "
Enhance Your Calm has now won all three starts from All Stars and over $50,000 in stakes and so is well on the way to repaying his purchase price
THE RACING SCENE
FROM THE TOP TABLE
I have decided its "now or never' training a galloper and I bought one at the May sale at Karaka. He will do a month back at Brighthill Farm who offered him at the sale and then he will come south. Barry enjoyed training the thoroughbreds and I have wanted to have a go. If I don't do it now I probably won't and the timing seems right.
Actually this colt wasn't my first choice but there is a story behind that. Roy and I were going to the sale but the car broke down in traffic and we ended up having to get it towed home so we didn't make it. My first choice from the catalogue was earlier on , a Reliable Man colt ,and it went for a bit more than I wanted to pay anyway. This one was passed in. I had liked the look of him and for $8000 (post sale ring) he seemed a reasonable buy to me. Time will tell !
Earlier Nat and I had an I Am Invincible youngster we bought at the sales in Australia but we didn't really have the time to do it and after it was broken in down here and proved a bit of a handful it ended up at Graeme's (Rogerson). I think it is best known for the day it got to the barrier and bolted over the fence before the race ! I hope this one will be different. I am looking forward to the challenge.
STATS AND FACTS
- MARK is the latest driver to top 1500 winning drives in the same season he joined the exclusive 2000+ training winners. Next target ? The first 2000 win trainer to drive 2000 winners
- MILLIONAIRE ALL STARS - 1. Lazarus approx $3.9m 2 Smolda $2,558,5442. 3. Auckland Reactor $1,837,043 4.Adore Me $1,677,032 5 Il Vicolo $1,580,948 6 Have Faith In Me $1,469,492 7 I Can Doosit $1,445,774 8 Young Rufus $1,082,692 9 Highview Tommy $1,021,904 10 Dream About Me $1,002,839
- Elle Mac brought up 100 wins for this domestic season. The stable has topped 100 wins every year since 2009 a phenomenal achievement considering its strike rate of winners to starters, well ahead of any other large stable year after year.
Ima Single Girl has joined the stable recently. She is a sister to Spankem. We also have a number of "homebred" yearlings in work now that didn't go through the Sales. Sweet on Me, Agree With Me, Claire Bear, On a Roll, Ballroom Beauty, Beyond Words, Secret Dream, Splendid Me, Picture Me (see The Racing Team page for details)
fOR THIS WEEK'S INFO SEE ABOVE
Michelle Neilson, , Matt Bowden, Tim Williams,, Mike Woodlock, Dave Lewis, Rebecca Hendricks, Kerry Estreich, Olivia Thornley, Ashleigh Royal,
Carolyn Carney, Iva Junkova, Pilch, Michael Purdon, Nathan Purdon, Alison Ward, Shannon Brown, Hayley Best and Terry Webster