All Stars feat of winning eight races from starters in nine races is a phenomenal achievement-for many years on the day there weren’t even more than eight races !- but it only continues a stunning overall record in Cup week- and Natalie’s overall driving record, period.
At her first NZ Cup meeting after moving to Rolleston she drove Messini to win the Junior FFa in what was then New Zealand record time her first Cup Day winner coming early with Backup also raced by Bill and Jean Feiss. She was overshadowed that day by Mark however. The stable prepared no less than seven winners from nine races started in for the first time ever at Addington and Mark drove four of them.
She did not rein a winner in 2015 while Mark reined five winners on Cup Day ad the stable won six.
In 2016 when the stable won six from eight, Natalie posted her first Cup Day Group One with Ultimate Machete in the Sires Stakes Final a G1 race she has won every year since. She reined three winners on the day and repeated that last year with Thefixer (a winner also for her on Cup Day 2016) Anthem and Chase Auckland (Sires Stakes) stole the show. She followed that up winning the NZ Free for All (G1) on Ultimate Machete. This year she drove four winners (two G
On strike rate of G1 victories Natalie must lead Australasia.
The NZ Cup was indeed the missing item on the bucket list
It included multi Inter Dominions with Blacks a Fake,
Mark has taken his place alongside one of the greatest all time trainers in New Zealand with The Fixers win in the NZ Cup .
James Bryce and Cecil Devine reigned supreme with six winners of the Cup the country’s greatest race until now.
Il Vicolo and Lazarus had two each and Adore Me, the last mare to win the Cup make up the All Stars total.
Cecil Devine, a hero to a young Mark Purdon, had four horses to thank for his successes, one, False Step, winning three. Van Dieman, Thunder and Lord Module were his other winners so he owned two winners outright.
James Bryce, who like Mark’s great grandfather, Joe Purdon, came to New Zealand from Scotland, still has an edge over his successors with five individual winners. Ahuriri won two in the 1920’s. Cathedral Chimes, Great Hope Kohara and Red Shadow being his other winners. Bryce drove four of his winners, sons Andrew and Jimmy taking the other two. Devine drove all six of his winners and Mark has driven all five of his.
Bryce had the highest strike rate, in fact quite an amazing one. He won his first five Cups in just 11 seasons then had a six year hiatus before winning his final Cup. Mark has been training since 1995 and won his first Cup in that season. Cecil Devine began training in the early 1940’s. His first placegetter (Shadow Maid) ironically formerly trained by James Bryce who was then retired, was in 1945 and his first winner Van Dieman in 1951 at his third drive in the race . It was to be 28 years before his last winner, Lord Module his second Cup as an owner.
Mark was a co-owner of Il Vicolo with John Seaton. James Bryce never officially owned a Cup winner but he bred Red Shadow (pictured) and retained an unoffical interest in him throughout his career. Red Shadow was the first horse to win all the open class races at a Cup carnival.
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ANOTHER MASTERPIECE two year old of the year last season, has been back for nearly two weeks at All Stars and has bounced back well for his three year old career.
“He’s done quite a lot of conditioning work especially with water therapy and has done well” Mark said.
The December meeting at Auckland is the main assignment of the Harness Jewels winner winner of 7 of his 12 starts to date.
“We are looking toward Auckland with him and races like the Elsu and the Sales Final. He looks to have done well and there is no reason hey he won’t be competitive in those top races again” Mark said
Three Year Old of the past season, Chase Auckland, is back in full work at All Stars after a lengthy spell with a leg problem to which extra time was added after a NZ Cup meeting prep was taken off the table.
“He has been back about a week and is just jogging at this stage” stable manager Michelle Neilson said.
Once the hopples go on Chase Auckland will be only six weeks away from trialling and then racing.
He was the dominant three year old last term before going amiss after the Woodlands Derby winning eight of nine starts and close to $400,000.
His only defeat was a second to Sicario in the Derby Prelude, his first race since December.
He clocked a 1. 52.2 mile rate winning the 1950m Sires Stakes Final and a tick under 3.17 for the 2700m winning the Woodlands Derby.
A sunnier side to his injury was the fact that the major four year old races on both sides of the Tasman come in the New Year and all going well he will be a busy horse through to the Autumn and the Jewels.
While he is likely to be aimed at age group racing in that period if he comes back as well as when he left loftier goals could be the aim