SuperStars winner Anything Goes makes his debut for All Stars on Friday and Nathan Purdon is predicting it should be a  winning one for the stable even though he is still getting to know the  American Ideal gelding.

“We haven’t had him long and probably haven’t done that much with him yet. Our track is different from Steve’s (Dolan) and it takes them a little while to get used to that and the routines. That is what we have been concentrating on but he is ready to go and he is going to be hard to beat in that field”

Anything Goes won 6 of 15 out of the Dolan stable mostly with his partner Devon Van Til-now a member of the All Stars staff- in the bike and the Superstars triumph with a cool Van Til drive showed the easy going pacer’s potential. Natalie takes the reins now and her form only adds to the gelding’s credentials.

Perhaps he will prove  a throwback to a champion of long ago in Tactician who was a half brother to Anything Goes’s 6th dam Estaminet from a family which made a small fortune over the years for once famous trainer,Maurice McTigue.

As is so often the case at All Stars these days the breeding operation of Brian West has played a major role in the evolution of the family though ironically it is Barry Purdon who has developed several of them. Like Tactician they have been a hard hitting lot with On the Razzle (1.53) On the Rantan (1.50.6 US) and On the Cards (1.49.5 US) typical in recent years,all three from Funontherun.

Back in the 1970’s Assisi (granddam of Funontherun and the 10 from 33 US export pacer Roman Conqueror ) was an outstanding two year old for Rakaia’s Paul Newton winning the Leonard Memorial and a top race in the north.

She was further evidence of the strong affinity this family has for the In the Pocket line, her best foal being Roman Gladiator (Christian Cullen). 

However it is versatile and to Sands A Flyin she left Scorching who won 11 races from 30 starts in this country.

Assisi’s dam Romano was one of the last winners bred and trained by Maurice McTigue when winning at a  Marlborough meeting- one of his favourite winter haunts in his veteran years joining up with a another former Methven trainer,Max Miller as his driver.

Romano was from Estaminet, the unraced 3rd foal of Berengaria (the second, Impressario was a high class pacer) whose dam Waress was the anchor of Maurice McTigue’s outstanding career.

The first foal,Tactician, was also the first New Zealand pacer to break two minutes in a race which he managed in the Rattray Stakes, one of the first mobile mile events held at 1957 when a veteran 11 year old beating False Step Local Light in 1.59.8. That was not his only claim to fame.

Tactician was an Interdominion Champion (Auckland 1955)and ran in no less than 7 New Zealand Cups,2nd in 1952 being his best. He was more of a speed horse than many of his day and was reliably timed over 400 in 26 seconds, the first such occasion it had occurred at Addington. That was 70 years ago and not all those running on the track today would find that easy.

Rival trainers years later used to remark on Tactician’s incredible speed.But he was also as sound as a bell racing for 9 seasons.

Berengaria was from Waress who left a host of top class winners for McTigue  most notably Plunder Bar,three times placed in the Cup,twice behind the immortal Highland Fling. He also gave McTigue an odd driving record for trivia lovers.

When Highland Fling ran a sensational 4.10.6 in the 1948 NZ Cup,three seconds better than the record, it was because of the hot pace set by Plunder Bar who held on for second.

When Johnny Globe took nearly 3 seconds off that record in 1954 it was because of a furious pace set by Tactician. Maurice McTigue clearly believed in scorched earth Cup tactics.

Indigo was another top performer from Waress,  who herself won 9 races when that was relatively rare. Close up in the family was Dolly the dam of our first pacing champion Ribbonwood who almost singlehandedly turned Addington from a showplace to a mecca.

She was the dam of Ivy Mac which McTigue had bred from with Frank McKendry but his turn produced the best one. McTigue was an electrician until he took up full time training in the 1930’s .Soon after he won the 1938 NZ Cup with Morello a champion youngster that had lost his way for some years.

Topliners in the 1940’s like Fine Art,Loyal Rey etc carried him to leading owner status twice.He raced most of his topliners himself and bred nearly all of them. His horses were famous for doing a lot of work in staying races and sticking grimly to the task.When the  money was on in those days of tight racing Maurice rarely risked being trapped in the field. 

In later years his breed retained their great speed but his decision to line breed his mares to leading stallion Jack Potts meant their reliability became suspect, especially at the start and with mobiles years away. 

It was all a long time ago but Anything Goes gives the impression he can lope along at any pace and still kick on, just like Tactician who won the then small fortune of 26 thousand pounds. 

Maurice McTigue  would have been proud  the Waress success has not been dimmed by time.



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