Purdon Pupils Sparkle At Harness Jewels

Published: May 30, 2009 02:04 pm EDT

The aura of Auckland Reactor was too much for his rivals in the $200,000 Four-Year-Old Emerald at part of Saturday's New Zealand Harness Jewels at Ashburton Raceway


New Zealand harness racing's pacing superstar was able to control the race on the lead and with trainer and co-owner Mark Purdon in tow covered the mile in an effortless 1:53.85.

"Yes, it was tempting to chase the New Zealand record for one mile but this horse has had a long, hard racing campaign this season," Purdon told the New Zealand Herald. "We just wanted to get the victory.

"We got an easy second quarter in front and he relaxed beautifully for me. From the draw it was always my intention to lead and he was doing it easily," said Purdon.

Owned predominantly by a group of Canadians including Peter Heffering, Tom Kyron, Bill Loyens, Doug Millard, Irv Storfer, Fred Brayford and Dr. Michael Wilson, Auckland Reactor has recorded 24 victories in 27 lifetime starts. After Saturday's race, 'The Reactor' will get reportedly get some time off and come back for his five-year-old campaign in November.

The Purdon stable also captured divisions of the Harness Jewels with Joyfuljoy (Three-Year-Old Fillies), Pocaro (Three-Year-Old Trot).

While 'The Reactor' was not interested in any speed records, someone else clearly was. Kiwi Ingenuity became the fastest race winner in New Zealand's history overcoming the second row and looping the field to win the $200,000 Four-Year-Old Mares Pace.

The daughter of Christian Cullen scorched over the mile in 1:52.1.

A total of seven records were set on the day, with only Auckland Reactor (1:53.8) clocking just outside his four-year-old mark, and Leighton Hest (1:56.7) being outside Lyell Creek's four-year-old trotter's record.

New two-year-old pacing times were set by Smiling Shard (1:53.7) and Gotta Go Harmony (1:55.5) and new three-year-old marks by Tintin In America (1:53.2) and Joyfuljoy (1:54.4).

Trotters Jinja Gal (1:59.7) and Pocaro (1:57.5) were both seconds under the previous marks for their age groups.

(with files from New Zealand Herald and Sunday Star Times)