Racing: Auckland Reactor's trainer chooses Auckland over Sydney

By Michael Guerin, Mike Guerin

Australia's loss will be Auckland's gain when champion racehorse Auckland Reactor makes a shock appearance at Alexandra Park next Friday.

The unbeaten pacer was expected to start in next Friday's A$500,000 Miracle Mile in Sydney, for which he was the early favourite.

But his trainer-driver Mark Purdon told the Herald today that trip is off.

"The quarantine restrictions associated with the equine influenza outbreak last year mean if we went to Sydney we couldn't get back until late January," said Purdon

"That was too long to be away for us and I wasn't keen to have him racing in open class all season when he can stay here and also race against his own age group."

Auckland Reactor has become the most hyped New Zealand horse of the last five years following 14 unbeaten starts.

He is the reigning New Zealand Horse of the Year and has set national records over an array of distances, including when thrashing New Zealand Cup winner Changeover in a $300,000 thriller at Addington last Friday.

Last season Auckland Reactor set a record of a different kind, becoming New Zealand's most valuable standardbred racehorse ever when being sold to a North American syndicate for around $3.6million.

He will make his Auckland debut at Alexandra Park next Friday in the Franklin Cup and then is likely to remain in the north, racing at Alexandra Park and Cambridge until January.

Purdon says he then wants to bring the four-year-old back to Auckland for the $600,000 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup on March 6, the biggest night of harness racing ever in this part of the world.

Auckland Reactor will travel north from his Christchurch base tomorrow and his arrival at Alexandra Park has officials there beaming.

"I think anybody who has ever seen him race, particularly at Addington last week, knows he is very special," said Alexandra Park boss Graeme Running.

"So having him here next week and then for the Auckland Cup on March 6 is wonderful for northern sport and racing fans."

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