Racing: All Stars set to dominate after getting good draws

By Michael Guerin

Spanish Armada (7) ridden by Natalie Rasmussen finishes ahead of Delightful Memphis (11) ridden by Blair Orange. Photo / Greg Bowker
Spanish Armada (7) ridden by Natalie Rasmussen finishes ahead of Delightful Memphis (11) ridden by Blair Orange. Photo / Greg Bowker

If you are not a fan of the All Stars domination of New Zealand's biggest harness races you might want to avoid watching the Trackside TV channel this weekend.

Because the barrier draws for group one races at both of major metropolitan tracks suggest the Mark Purdon-Natalie Rasmussen juggernaut could be about to snare three more big ones.

They will have hot favourites in the $150,000 Sales Series Pace for juvenile fillies at Alexandra Park on Friday, the three favourites in the $140,000 Nevele R Fillies Final at Addington the next day and More The Better set to start odds-on in the $200,000 Sales Series Pace soon after.

While it was already obvious the mega stable had the best horse in each of those three races, the draws have proved a dagger into the heart of their rival's chances.

Spanish Armada has drawn seemingly perfectly at barrier three in the Alexandra Park feature, in which the All Stars have five of the seven starters.

That alone would make her the favourite but most importantly she will start inside Delightful Memphis (barrier six), the only filly who looks capable of testing her.

The news is worse for their rivals in the Fillies' Final at Addington where the All Stars have three group one winners this season in the same race and all have drawn the front line.

They will leave them with some thinking to do, though, as Golden Goddess has drawn the ace and is a natural leader, whereas Dream About Me (three) and Piccadilly Princess (five) are outside her.

Purdon has already publicly stated he thinks the gap between the three fillies has closed so while Dream About Me will still probably open favourite with the bookies today, there will be nothing like the $1.10 quote about her last start, when she was beaten for the first time, fair and square by Golden Goddess.

To make the job even easier, last-start NZ Breeders winner against the older mares, Luisanabelle Midfrew, has drawn the second line, probably ending her slight chances of an upset win.

And More The Better's ace draw in New Zealand's richest juvenile race gives him options his rivals don't have, including staying in front or potentially trailing last-start conqueror Vasari, while their main threat Pacing Major has drawn the second line.

Victory in all three features could take the stable past $2.9 million in stakes domestically this season, still a long way off their record $4.27 million earned in New Zealand last season.

They sit 13 wins clear of Robert Dunn on the premiership.

- NZ Herald

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