All Stars fillies looking to join exclusive club

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

All Stars Racing will be out to extend their dominant run in the Group 1 Woodlands Stud Caduceus Club 2YO Fillies Classic (2200m) at Alexandra Park on Friday night.

Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen have trained seven of the last eight winners of the race, with Mark Purdon steering home True Fantasy to victory in last year’s edition of the race for now training partner Hayden Cullen, while the couple were on a sabbatical from training.

The Rolleston barn will have a two-pronged attack in the Group feature on Friday, with Group Three winner Millwood Nike and two-win filly Luvstruck.

Millwood Nike extended her unbeaten streak to three last Thursday when winning first-up over 1700m in the hands of Purdon, with Rasmussen guiding Luvstruck to third.

Purdon was pleased with the way the daughter of Captaintreacherous handled going right-handed for the first time ahead of her Group One assignment this week.

“I was rapt with her performance and the way she handled the Auckland way of going,” Purdon said.

“She looks classy. She had two trials leading into last Thursday night and we looked after her. In the race she felt like a pretty nice filly.

“She comes into this race with a nice draw (4) and no doubt she will be very hard to beat.”

Purdon purchased Millwood Nike out of Millwood Farm’s 2021 New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred National Yearling Sale draft for $75,000, and she has been syndicated amongst a group of stable clients that includes former Kiwis rugby league coach Frank Endacott.

“She ticked all the boxes for me (as a yearling) with her conformation, she had a good intelligent head on her with a good eye,” Purdon said.

“Both Nat (Rasmussen) and I really liked her so she was one that we really wanted to bring home.

“We have owners in her who we haven’t had a lot of luck for, but they have been very loyal supporters of the camp and it was great to put them into her.”

She quickly rewarded her new owner’s support, with three victories to date, including the Group 3 Helen Pope 2YO Fillies Stakes (1700m) at Ashburton in June.

Purdon is also looking forward to lining up Luvstruck in the juvenile feature.

The Art Major filly also boasts a promising record with two victories, before placing behind her stablemate last week, and Purdon said she has taken a fair amount of improvement out of her first-up run.

“She would have been the one who would get more improvement out of the run,” he said.

“She went into it probably a little bit bigger than Millwood Nike, but she handled the Auckland way good as well.

“I was probably a bit fortunate that I tracked her down the back when she was doing that hard work closing the gap on the leader, which played into my hands a little bit.

“It might be a different set of circumstances this week. I wouldn’t underrate her chances.”

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