Training legend Barry Purdon was back on top of the yearling sales world yesterday.
The third and final day of the annual standardbred sales week saw some heated top-end action in Christchurch but it was Purdon who snared the sales topper, paying $200,000 for a Mach Three colt, a half brother to Smiling Shard.
He was one of 10 yearlings Purdon and his clients bought over the three days which saw the all-powerful All Stars stable challenged hard by Purdon, Robert Dunn, Cran Dalgety, Ken Barron, Lincoln Farms and several Australian-based buyers among others.
The Christchurch sale was stronger than the first day and the average got past $28,000 helped by lots of $170,000 and $160,000 snapped up yesterday.
Once the dust settles there will be a huge spread of top lots over leading trainers, which can only be a good thing for the industry.
"It has been a tough week," said Purdon.
"I am thrilled with the ones we got but we missed some too because the competition at the top end has been so tough.
"And it is good to see so many different trainers getting involved.
"But we loved the [$200,000] colt, he was pretty much faultless and had a lovely head, great body and a very athletic walk." As tends to be the case at the larger Christchurch sale, the gap between the top lots and the mid range was greater than at Karaka on Monday.
Now Purdon will concentrate on Sunday and group one targets at Menangle with stable reps Sky Major and Start Dreaming. They are in serious support races to the A$750,000 Miracle Mile, which is turning into one of the better pre-post betting races on the Grand Circuit in years.
With Beautide being a Menangle hero, the hype around Arms Of An Angel, Have Faith In Me looking freakish and Lennytheshark aiming for an open class Triple Crown, parochial punters have launched, with one Australian TAB taking a A$15,000 bet on Lennytheshark at $4.
But unbeaten Kiwi-trained three-year-old Waikiki Beach and Dream About Me remain red hot in the NSW Derby and Oaks respectively.
And Smolda is rated a $1.30 chance to win the group one free-for-all on Sunday.