An unbeatable family

By Michael Guerin

Have Faith In Me has a long way to go to surpass the deeds of his champion sister Adore Me but he succeeded where she failed last night.

The exciting youngster overcame what his connections thought might be a bad draw at one to run down stablemate Follow The Stars in the $250,000 Woodlands Derby.

That means Have Faith In Me has won the race which handed his her first defeat when she was beaten by Ohoka Punter in the Derby two years ago.

The win continued a remarkable start to the night at Alexandra Park for champion trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen as they also won the two group races for juvenile pacers.

That continued the theme of younger siblings of big name horses winning with Dream About Me taking out the $80,000 Delightful Lady Stakes being a half sister to Miracle Mile winner Christen Me.

And the country’s best racing stable -- of either code -- also trained the winner of the group one Breckon Farms Cardigan Bay Stakes with Chase The Dream, who downed stablemate Lazarus.

While they dominated the features before the Auckland Cup, the stable would have still been surprised that Have Faith In Me could down Follow The Stars, mainly because they wouldn’t have expected him to be in a position to do so.

He has never shown real gate speed and Mark Purdon was worried he might get left behind at the start but instead driver Tim Williams was able to hold the front early, a move which effectively won him the race.

Once he secured that role Have Faith In Me handed the lead to Follow The Stars and divebombed the heavily backed favourite on the line.

It continues an incredible season for Have Faith In Me who has also won the Sires’ Stakes Final at Addington and the Sales Series Pace at Alexandra Park.

That gives him the big-race record of a truly great three-year-old even though he hasn’t been favourite in any of the feature races he has contested.

But as he matures he could be something special, with last night being only his 10th start for five wins.

“We thought barrier one was a disaster for him,” admitted owner Dennis Dunford.

“And then even when he had the gate speed to hold the front and hand to Follow The Stars we didn’t think he could come off his back to beat him.

“In fact, when they hit the line we thought he had run second.”
 Have Faith In Me now has the NZ Derby and the Harness Jewels to go to cap a stunning season, his owners only regret that he is a gelding because with what Adore Me has been doing he would have stallion potential.

One horse with an undoubted stud career is Dream About Me, the half sister to Christen Me super impressive winning last night.

She is unbeaten in three starts and with her breeding and now group two success, she would be valuable even if she never raced again.