All Stars decision not total surprise to high profile owner

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk

Major All Stars Racing Stables supporter Phil Kennard has called today’s announcement “big news” and “a brave call”.

Phil and Glenys Kennard have had co-ownership of a string of champions with Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen including the likes of Lazarus, Spankem, Ultimate Sniper and Thefixer.

Their association started with Purdon (and then training partner Grant Payne) with Fiery Falcon a dozen or so years ago.  

Right now they estimate they have 12 to 14 horses at the All Stars’ Rolleston base, with many more at other stables in both the North and South Islands.

“They are sensational at what they do,” says Kennard.

According to HRNZ statistics the combo of Purdon and Rasmussen have trained 889 winners since 2014, with total stakes approaching $29m. Only last Tuesday they produced the trifecta in the New Zealand Cup with Self Assured, Spankem and Ashley Locaz.  

News that they are disbanding their partnership at the end of the year was not totally unexpected for Kennard. He knows the physical and mental toll that running such a big operation has had on them.

“We were not that surprised. .... It’s a brave call, and one you have to admire.”

Purdon and Rasmussen say they will have at least a 12 month sabbatical.

From January current stable foreman Hayden Cullen and his wife Amanda will take over the lease on the Rolleston property.  The new business will be known as Cullen Racing Stables.  

Purdon and Rasmussen say they will continue to purchase yearlings, and  provide support for Cullen Racing Stables, especially in the lead up to big events like next June’s Harness Jewels.

Kennard is yet to learn of the intricate details of what the new arrangement will mean for owners like himself.

“We are treating it as a business as usual. We are not going to panic, as they say ‘one door shuts and another door opens’, and we have a lot of confidence in Hayden and Amanda.”

“We are not rushing into anything and would be disappointed if anyone did.”

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