pic; Buster (left) joins his mate Captain Roy as a racehorse on Friday



Thrilled as he is with his debut effort as a thoroughbred trainer, Mark is not letting turf grow under his feet.

 Buster Shaw, a three year old son of War Decree, will make his debut at Timaru on Friday and like Captain Roy goes into the 1200m race without a trial.

Mark got a big thrill with Captain Roy’s bold  third on Saturday,not aided by a sluggish start and a check or two early.Finishing top three was the height of his expectation given the youngster had had no trials and the colt came out of the race in top order.

“No sign of stress at all,he seems to have come through it well so we will look at the two year old race on October 28 with him at this stage”

The lack of trial experience is not lack of planning but a reluctance to trial on a poly track.

“I  prefer to keep them to turf. Many of the trial meetings are on poly so the opportunity has not been there. But I was confident he had done the groundwork and so was Kin (Kwo). And the jumpouts were no real problem for them.Its been the start I was hoping for ”

Mark has put a lot of time into his galloping team interspersed as it has been with the extra task oof  taking over some of Nathan’s tasks while he was in Australia and overcoming a bad bout of recurring influenza. Saturday’s successful debut was due reward for effort

It also came the day after Akuta,which he co-owns with Ian Dobson, a partner in the high class galloper Royal Creation many years ago, did everything Mark had aimed for in the Canterbury Cup at Addington.

“He went really good. Did some work showed the brilliance and just blew out as we expected. Couldn’t be more pleased”

Well, maybe not quite as pleased as he had to be after a yearling he selected,formed a Purdon family syndicate to race, trained up himself to race without trialling and watched such a promising debut for horse and horseman.That was indeed special.


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