- 02 February 2018
By Michael Guerin
Even the master gets perplexed sometimes.
And you can understand champion trainer Mark Purdon shaking his head after his fourth high-profile injury in a month.
Purdon and training partner Natalie Rasmussen have had to shelve Ultimate Machete for the rest of the season, just a week out from the A$200,000 Chariots of Fire in Sydney for which he was the hot favourite.
Ironically, he inherited that favouritism from stablemate Vincent last week after he was also sidelined by a leg injury which looks even more serious and that pair can be added to stablemate Titan Banner, who is also unlikely to race again this season.
Of course just a few weeks ago Lazarus was in the wars after suffering hoof concussion but at least the great pacer has bounced back to be a hot favourite for the Hunter Cup on Saturday night.
That still leaves the All Stars lamenting the loss of three major group one players as well as Dream About Me, whose season started so well but has been sidetracked while Have Faith In Me has headed off shore after being sold.
“It has been a bit unbelievable,” says Purdon.
“I have never had a run like this before and hope I don’t again.
“You really feel for the owners but at least in the case of Mate (Ultimate Machete) the prognosis is good that he will come back next season.
“But it hasn’t been a lot of fun the last couple of weeks and there is no one thing you can put it down to because all three horses have been in different states.”
The injury to Ultimate Machete leaves New Zealand without a likely Chariots Of Fire starter in a race we have dominated, even more incredible because at one stage the Purdon-Rasmussen stable had the first five favourites in the group one four-year-old event.
It also means the All Stars have gone from having six possible contenders for a spot in the February 24 Miracle Mile to only having two -- Lazarus and Heaven Rocks.