The All Stars Stable of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen are expected to feature prominently at Cambridge Raceway on Friday night.
The Canterbury trainers will take four of their stable stars to the Waikato track to contest the meeting’s two feature races.
Exciting square-gaiter Oscar Bonavena and four-time Group One winner Winterfell will line-up in the Les Harrison Transport Cambridge Flying Stakes (1609m).
“It’s nice to have them there supporting the club and it’s only a small field,” Purdon said.
Purdon has been thrilled with the way Winterfell has performed in his northern campaign, recording four victories from five starts, including the Gr.1 Inter Dominion Trotting Championship Final (2700m) and a last-start win in the Gr.1 National Trot (2700m).
“I’m very pleased with Winterfell,” Purdon said. “He came north and really turned the corner mentally. I am very pleased with the job he has done for us up here.”
While all five of his northern starts this campaign have been at Alexandra Park, Purdon was keen to test the five-year-old gelding at Cambridge Raceway’s left-handed track.
“He had always been a bit more comfortable going right-handed but his whole manners have improved,” Purdon said. “But it will be an interesting test for him, that’s for sure.”
Purdon is also looking forward to returning to Cambridge with Oscar Bonavena, the scene of his Gr.2 Trotters Flying Mile (1609m) win two starts back, before finishing third in the National Trot on New Year’s Eve.
“He hasn’t had a lot of racing and it was a different sort of race for him last start,” Purdon said.
“He had to do that middle stage work and sit outside Majestic Man for the last mile. He didn’t go down by much and it was a good learning curve for him.
“Oscar Bonavena trotted really well on Wednesday and I am sure he will be hard to beat on Friday.”
The All Stars team will also contest the Gr.2 McMillan Equine Feeds Flying Mile (1609m) with Thefixer and Chase Auckland who have drawn barriers six and seven respectively.
The pair head into Friday in good form and put in bold showings in the Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m) on New Year’s Eve, with Thefixer finishing runner-up while Chase Auckland was fourth.
“They both seem to be in a good place,” Purdon said. “They are probably a little bit wide out for the mile, but nevertheless they have both been racing well and I am sure they will both give a good account of themselves.” – Cambridge Raceway