The All Stars juggernaut rolled in to Cambridge on Friday night when Chase Auckland won the Gr.2 McMillian Equine Feeds Flying Mile mobile pace over 1609m.
Driven for just the second time in his career by Mark Purdon, who trains the gelding in partnership with Natalie Rasmussen, Chase Auckland settled back in the field from barrier seven before swooping six-wide at the 200m mark to claim a dominant two-and-a-quarter- length win over the Steve Telfer-trained duo of Check In and Triple Eight.
“I was concerned about the wide barrier draw but when the others went fast up front, I was confident that he would come home strongly,” Purdon said.
Purdon has now trained seven and driven five winners of the Gr.2 Flying Mile for pacers, in Turn It Up (2019), Lazarus (2017), Adore Me (2015), Auckland Reactor (2009), Young Rufus (2003) and Ouch (2001) and he was happy to compare his most recent winner.
“He’s not too far off the others I’ve won the race with he just needs to get a good trip where some of the others could make their own luck,” he said.
The five-year-old gelding has been a consistent performer, winning 14 of his 31 starts to date including three at the elite level, the Gr.1 Sires Stakes Series Final (2017), Gr.1 Northern Derby (2018) and the Gr.1 NZ Pacing Free-For-All in November last year.
Bred by Tony Parker and Anne Parker out of their two-time race-winning Falcon Steelster mare, Delicata Chase Auckland emulated his Alabar-based sire Auckland Reactor with Friday night’s Flying Mile win.
“He’s not as quiet as his father,” Purdon said. “You do have to watch yourself around him he’s highly strung.”
Purdon enjoyed watching the race replay with his father, Hall of Famer Roy Purdon in Auckland on Saturday afternoon.
Purdon senior shares in the ownership of both Chase Auckland, as part of the Alabar Racing Syndicate, and Oscar Bonavena – who won the Gr.3 Harrison Transport Cambridge Flying Stakes mobile trot over 1609m.
Chase Auckland departs for Melbourne on Sunday morning with stablemates Self Assured and Thefixer with the Gr.1 Ballarat Pacing Cup on Saturday night the immediate goal.
Christchurch-based Purdon said he enjoys racing at Cambridge Raceway.
“I have northern roots having been based in Auckland and I enjoy coming back up and Cambridge is a lovely track and every horse gets a chance there,” he said.