All Stars claim two of the three Group 1s on Show Day
It's been another successful day for the all-powerful All Stars (Purdon Racing) with wins in two of the day's three Group 1s on Show Day at Addington.
Mark Purdon guided Oscar Bonavena to victory in the Dominion Trot, while Tony Herlihy and Self Assured upset stable-mate Akuta in the Airpark Canterbury Free For All.
DUNSTAN HORSEFEEDS SIRES' STAKES SERIES FINAL (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1)
The first of the afternoon's three Group 1s was for the two-year-old fillies and it was an all the way win for Our Shangri Lana. Trained by Steve Dolan and driven by Australian Cam Hart, the Art Major two-year-old filly had drawn one and showed impressive gate speed to hold out hot favourite Coastal Babe. From there Hart controlled the tempo, going on to win by a neck from the fast finishing Madrid and Treacherous Love. It was Hart's second Group 1 for the week after Swayzee's New Zealand Cup triumph on Tuesday. When asked if he'd given Hart any driving instructions Dolan said "you don't tell Picasso how to paint!". Coastal Babe had the perfect trail behind the winner but couldn't capitalise in finishing fourth. It was Our Shangri Lana's second win in four starts, with Dolan saying it was "so exciting". Our Shangri Lana paid $12.80 and $3.30.
RENWICK FARMS DOMINION TROT (G1)
There was plenty of drama as Oscar Bonavena took out the country's greatest trotting race, the Dominion. Favourite Muscle Mountain was pulled out of the race with a lap to go with what is suspected to be atrial fibrillation (heart issues). At the time he was three wide and struggling to get into the race as Bolt For Brilliance set the pace. In the meantime Oscar Bonavena had worked his way into one-one and turning for home blasted to the lead for driver/co-trainer Mark Purdon. Southland star Smokin Bandar made his move too and looked with a chance before Oscar Bonavena went clear. "He's won it with a leg in the air," said commentator Matt Cross. Oscar Bonavena paid $9.30 and $2.50, it was his 20th win in 55 starts. Bolt For Brilliance stuck on for fourth, with Smokin Bandar and Resolve finishing second and third. It was Purdon's second driving success for the day after an earlier victory with We Walk By Faith.
AIRPARK CANTERBURY NZ PACING FFA MBL PACE (G1)
With the scratching yesterday of New Zealand Cup winner Swayzee, Akuta was seen as close to unbeatable in the day's third and final Group 1. He had finished second to the Australian star on Tuesday and then drawn one for today's pacing feature. But sometimes things don't pan out as expected. Akuta led early and looked to have the race at his mercy but a lap out he uncharacteristically bobbled, just for a few strides. He recovered and looked to be back on track turning for home only for stablemate Self Assured, the winner of the same race last year, to launch down the outside and go back to back, paying $13.50 and $2.50. It was Self Assured's first race for the week, after connections opted out of the IRT New Zealand Cup on Tuesday.
"Leaving him out of the Cup was the winning of the race," says Herlihy, "he was fresh and others had to come off tough runs."