News

Northern Velocity dominates

By Mac Henry

Northern Velocity simply dominated at Ascot Park in Invercargill on Saturday.

She led throughout the Northern Southland Club's group three Caduceus Club of Southland/Nevele R Stud Two Year Old Fillies Classic, treated those that came near her with contempt and strode away to win by seven and a half lengths.

On a track saturated by rain, Northern Velocity paced the 2200 metre mobile trip in a Southland record for a two year old filly of 2:44.5.

A $72,500 purchase by Mark Purdon at last year's premier sale, Northern Velocity is by Mach Three from Northern Franco so a half-sister to the Pembrook Benny.

She is raced by Cheryl Rasmussen and Trevor Titcomb of Brisbane whose first winner in New Zealand was Gentle Western, on debut at Winton in October 2013. Their best was undoubtedly Blacks A Fake. Cheryl's daughter Natalie, in partnership with Mark Purdon, trains Northern Velocity.

Established in 2002, the Classic was first run as a group three in 2013 and won by the Purdon trained Rocknroll Arden.

Last year, Joannes's A Delight won by a neck from the Purdon-Rasmussen rep Fight For Glory.

Northern Velocity has now gone to second to stablemate Dream About Me on the Jewels leaderboard .

Taking the reins of Northern Velocity for just the second time was junior Matt Anderson who has not only won twice from two but both have been group threes, the first being the American Ideal Leonard Memorial Stakes at the Cheviot meeting.

Anderson said she was foolproof on Saturday and made it clear when he got to the front from the five draw he wasn't going to hand to anyone.

Asked if he'd given any thought to letting Chevrons Champion and Dexter Dunn cross him during their spirited duel down the back straight the first time Anderson said, “no show, she was the top horse in the race and deserved the front.”

In the end, Pat Campbell was best of the chasing bunch and driver Matthew Williamson was satisfied.

“She did a bit of work so it was a good run but she was chasing a good one,” he said.

Smoke N Fire, who drew 12 and settled back, made ground well for junior Michelle Neilson.

“She was a bit green, she's got a bit to learn, it was a good effort,” she said.

After her early burst, Chevrons Champion settled handy on the inner but was late getting clear and fourth was her lot.

“I was hoping to get the front and let Matt come back round,” Dunn said of his early plan, “then I was held up coming to the turn, she went really good.”

Mark Jones is the trainer of both Smoke N Fire and I Get Around. He drove I Get Around himself and they trailled the winner for most of the race.

“She was a bit disappointing, she'll be turned out,” he said of I Get Around, “the other one will carry on.”

Jones had to settle for second also with Rocker Band, warm favourite for the $18,000 Caduceus Club Of Southland Autumn Futurity 2200 mobile. Victory

went to Statham, trained and driven by Nathan Williamson and raced by his partner Katie Jones, her parents Ross and Robyn of Kina Craig Stud - the three year old's breeders - and her brothers Josh and Sam.

Statham led from the 1300, Rocker Band went forward from the 700 and took up a challenging position, but Statham wouldn't let her past.

“I didn't know how much Rocker Band had when she came at me but mine gave it all,” Williamson said after the win.

He now has two of the top qualifiers for the Southern Supremacy Stakes, Tas Man Bromac is the other, and is not sure yet whether to line them both up.

“Statham needs to step up, I'll run him next week before deciding.”

The Bettor's Delight gelding qualified at two but Williamson felt he was too big and overgrown then to race. His winning debut came less than three months ago.

Top qualifier for the Supremacy is Pulp Fiction who bounced back from his mistakes at Winton three weeks ago to win the 2700 metre Laker House Of Travel Autumn Cup. Trainer Tony Stratford said some hopple and sulky issues hampered him last start and his work this week has been right back to his best.

“He'll have one more run before the Supremacy, not necessarily at the races,” he said, “that's his mission, there'll be no Derby.”