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Michelle Neilson with the rundown on the Purdon/Rasmussen trained runners for this Friday night at The Park

Dec 8, 2016 Trainer Interviews

With the Auckland Summer Carnival kicking off this Friday night at The Park, it comes as no surprise to see the blue & white stars of Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen making their way north to once again attempt to take home some of the major spoils. With strong representation all over the country at the moment and also over in Perth for the Interdominion series, the AP newsdesk caught up with stable representative Michelle Nielson to get the lowdown on the team and how they were placed heading into Friday night's events. Here's what the talented horsewoman had to say about the 10 runners they have in.

Race 1 (5) Arden’s Winstar – “As with most of the field, it will be their first time to the races and more importantly, first racenight experience going right-handed and it’s just never an easy task for any horse. Our guy has worked right-handed at home and he seemed to handle it well but race night is always just that next step up. The good thing is that Tim (Williams) has done all the work on him at home and he will be in the cart on Friday so that is a huge advantage. The 1 runner looks hardest to beat going on what we’ve seen down here at the trails & workouts but in a small field of 6 juveniles, anything could happen. We will be really pleased if he can get around safely and be running on at the finish taking confidence into the next few weeks.”

Race 5 (3) Smiley Sophie – “She showed us that she has really improved with her recent performances. Even though her win was only in maiden grade, the way she burnt early and still showed tough at the end was really impressive. Again, given there look to be two really strong standout chances in the race, she will need a bit of luck but if she able to find the fence, she too would rate as a realistic place chance.”

Race 5 (8) Spanish Armada – “There’s not much left to say about her really. She is a top class filly and she has taken all before her on the track previously. She showed she is back to her brilliant best with a tough last start win and her work at home subsequently says she has only improved. Delightful Memphis looks to be the hardest to beat but our girl is class and I would expect her to be too tough once again.”

Race 5 (10) Ready To Fire – “We were really happy with her last start performance for second, only nailed late in a really quick 26 last 1/4. She will need a bit of luck from the draw but she has been to the track on numerous occasions and never been too far off them so she rates a realistic place chance if she can find her way into the race late.”

Race 7 (8) Dream About Me – “Again there isn’t much left to say about this mare. She is right up there with the best and despite the horrible draw, she should prove really tough to beat. She has come on well since her run for sixth on Show Day and all going well, she will progress towards the Queen Of Hearts next week and then the Auckland Cup on the 31st.”

Race 8 (9) Titan Banner – “He’s travelled up really well and settled in nicely which is really pleasing. He strikes a top class field this week but he showed us that he is up to this class with his NZ Cup placing. This will be his first time right-handed so there is a bit of a watch there but he too is another that we have worked that way at home and he hasn’t shown us any signs that it won’t suit. There is a bit of speed drawn underneath him so the draw may play out well for him as he has shown he has a good turn of speed and can be saved for one last run at them. He will progress forward into the pacing features over the next few weeks but again he is another that you couldn’t rule out of a top three finish this Friday night.”

Race 9 (6) Ultimate Machete – “He went a super race to take out the Sires Stakes Final on Cup Day and showed us all that he is right up there with the best of them. He is another who will be lining up for his first right-handed race night start and that could be the difference between first and second, although again we have worked him that way at home and he has handled it all in his stride. He will improve with the run and we expect him to be in the first two.”

Race 9 (7) More The Better – “We were rapt with his run for second to Ultimate Machete last time out, having to do a power of work on fast sectionals and never giving in the fight. He has performed here at Group 1 level as a 2YO and that could be the telling factor this week. He has traveled up well and even though there isn’t too much between our two in this, the track experience could be the difference between first and second this week.”

Race 11 (3) You Gotta Have Faith – “We were pretty happy with his run in the Sires Stakes Final and he has continued to improve since then. While he takes on some of the older horses this week, he will appreciate coming back from Group racing and we are expecting him to perform well. He will be better for the first up look at the track but you would have to rate him as a definite top three chance.”

AP Newsdesk

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