Pic:Nathan is Headed for 100 wins in Training partnership with Mark


The Mark and Nathan partnership should have hit the 100 wins by the end of a busy weekend starting tonight at Cambridge, the combination having posted 96 since joining together at the beginning of last season.

One of those  could be DEMON BLUE who impressed Natalie fighting hard behind Cyclone Jordan last week recording similar splits and looking for revenge tonight. The youngster has pleased Mark in the meantime and he has had a gear change to an open bridle. He has a nice gate and left parked and game last week he should get a softer run here.He is holding a slight edge in the betting going into the race.

Next up is HIGH STEP resuming off 20m for Natalie and who will undoubtedly improve with the race but at $7 makes appeal on her trials in the south which Nathan was happy with.She didn’t snare a big one in Australia over the spring but fought on at the Grand Prix meeting on her return and is a stronger and fresher trotter now. It’s an open race with $5 favourites and she can hold her own.

VESSEM is at $2 and even then looks a good bet on paper. He has been racing in classic events from bad gates battling to get into the race from the back  in the running.It is a different ball game in this field and one of Mikayla’s faves should get home here in a 9 horse field.

Mark is adamant that DON’T STOP DREAMING is the best of the stable duo in the Flying Mile with SELF ASSURED on the second row. But the widish draw is tricky for Don’t Stop Dreaming too and with Rock n Roll Doo out rival four year old Merlin looks a big danger.

“The four year olds have it over Self Assured now in the pace department and that makes it hard for Jimmy if he has to give them a start over a mile.”

A week out from the Race By Grins means most drivers will be hoping for a best run that is not too hard a run and “Darci” should add to his tally all things being equal.

The Trotters Flying Mile has a disappointing field in numbers with HIGH ENERGY probably overshadowed by OSCAR BONAVENA with a lot of interest in the Kiwi-owned Australian star Queen Elida.

Oscar Bonavena,with the pace slackening in the middle stages, reversed his usual role and strode to the front last time out but held up for his lethal sprint and over a sprint trip he should give the Aussie plenty to think about.

By then the partnership has probably reached the century but if not it should do tomorrow at Addington when CHASE A DREAM  lines up in a Sires Stakes heat. While most thought We Walk By Faith was the stable’s unlucky runner in the Woodlands Derby, Mark, who got four days for checking stablemate Chase a Dream  had a slightly different view.

“I ws going strong when I came out and he got a check but I thought if more luck had gone his way earlier in the race he could have won”  That makes a Sires Stakes heat price of even $1.10 look attractive.

Bear in mind though that MR KAPLAN looked great value at $2 in a handicap last week and was disappointing. But back against her own sex and with her work and blood results since then,Nathan is adamant there is a margin to stablemate AMORE INFIDA in the Canterbury Breeders Stakes.

“Mr Kaplan is definitely the classier of the two. Things went against her last time and she didn’t really get into the race but she has bounced back and I rate that as a forgive run”

Mr Kaplan had run second in the G1 Standardbred Breeders Stakes and won a lower grade own sex race prior to that so is surely worth another chance at a 2nd fave price of $3.60,Natalie back in the bike.

By now the century must have been reached but if not there will be interest in the debut runs of two 2yo’s at the Cheviot meeting on Sunday PARTY CENTRAL and MIDNIGHT MIKI,both with bigger targets in mind.

“We want to see if they are going well enough to head south next week with Rubira ” Nathan said of Diamonds Day at Invercargill.”They have both gone well enough at the trials to aim at something like that so we will see how it goes raceday”

The trials form is tops bearing in mind it is how often how they go rather than where they finish at Purdon Racing. Blair has been handling Party Central who has the better gate but Natalie takes the raceday drive,with Blair on Midnight Mikki which he has not driven so the outcome-and the odds- will  be interesting.

Then there is FRANCO INDIE off 30m in the Cheviot Cup. As always with this sometimes enigmatic customer, Nathan is banking on the best version showing up. A first four frinish would put him into the $100,000 Country Cups Final but a handicap never makes it easy in a Cup event on the grass. He will have Natalie to assist his chances.

“He didn’t really fire last time tho it was his first run in a while.His cell count was not the best but it is right now. On the way he is working he should be right in it  but sometimes raceday doesn’t turn out the same. All I can say is that if he races like he has been working he will go really good”

He is the last chance to bring up the century of wins for father and son this week.

But by then they should be well past it.



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