“He went a great race but he had his chance and was beaten by a better horse on the night”

Mark’s summng up of the Race By Grins was both honest and fair typical of the man

The odds on favourite went for the front and that looked ideally placed early as ace rival Merlin had to settle for being parked outside the Purdon Racing star  but the Australian pacer Speak The Truth,trapped wide, moved to parked giving Merlin the ideal one one trip.

That was probably the difference in the ongoing battle between these two outstanding four year olds who set an NZ record of 2.35.1 for the trip.

“Natalie had decided to go to the front and dictate the race and it was the right thing to do” Mark said

“It was just the way the race panned out. He had his chance to win”

He was not quite so happy with the TAB Trotting  feature even thought Just Believe, a horse he holds a high opinion of,won narrowly but so well in an all Australian finish.

“It didn’t feel there was enough pace on and that was the way it turned out. We were relying on a strong pace so Oscar could use that sprint that he has. I haven’t checked the times but it didn’t feel like that”

“So he was very keen because of that and if he had relaxed he could have been closer”

We Walk By Faith might have been a victim of the race tactics,Mark felt

“I might have underrated Tony (Herlihy) ‘s  horse in a way but he went well overcoming that and Vessem went a good race”

Mark had a wry comment about his ongoing successes with the Arna Donnelly -trained Jolimont.

“A good win.It might have saved my driving reputation on the night!”

After a lengthy Australian and Auckland campaign with the team, Mark returns to Rolleston on Monday.

A tribute to his expertise is the campaign of Don’t Stop Dreaming which has covered  the stamina demand of a Hunter Cup against older stayers on the back of a testing New Zealand spring, a summer campaign encompassing a Miracle Mile etc and a return to the  features here.

Second to a horse like Merlin was no disgrace especially when trained by brother Barry the leading Kiwi trainer of all time.

Purdons one/two again!


Pin It on Pinterest