News & Events

Mark Purdon to train on own account

Mark Purdon and Grant Payne entered a training partnership in the 2007-2008 season. 556 winners, five premierships and $13m in stakes later Purdon will return to training under his own name from now on.

He is at pains to point out that the decision is no professional or personal slight on a man who has been a stable anchor in good times and bad and he expects Payne to continue his key role in its success. Few stables  have aspired to the  statistical achievements of All Stars in that period.

“It is only a name on paper as far as I am concerned,” Purdon said.

“Grant will continue for as long as he wants under the existing terms of his contract. I was happy to go for one more season with both names in the book but Grant said we might as well do it now.” Purdon said the partnership was originally formed at the height of the Auckland Reactor boom.

“At that time I was preparing to campaign him in America which meant I was going to be away for months at a time rather than weeks. When that didn’t eventuate we just left it as it was and then last year I was considering spending a lot more time establishing  an Australian stable which meant a partnership was still practical.”

“Now that I intend spending most of my time in Canterbury there is no real need for it.”

Logan Hollis, manager of his Auckland stable until its closure for this season, has been used more extensively in a travelling foreman role in Australia recently.

Payne, whose wife, Jan, is also a key staff member at Rolleston, was not really surprised at  the Purdon decision and has no plans to train on his own account at this stage. He has been especially valuable in his role developing youngsters at All Stars but is recognised as a top horseman in his own right. He prepared 22 winners for the stable when it was based at Yaldhurst while Purdon was serving out a drug penalty and his  experience is still likely to be of as great a value to Purdon as it has been for over a decade. It is just that from now on his name will not be in the book.

In  its last season the partnership  has 136 winners in New Zealand,  the closest anyone has got yet to the Roy and Barry Purdon record of 168 winners  in 1993-94, a record that seems likely to stand for some time yet.