Austin sends Buster Brady north to Purdon

NZ HARNESS NEWS

They say a change is as good as a holiday and Jock Austin is hoping that’s the case with his best horse, Buster Brady.

Austin, from Christchurch, has sent the rangy pacer north to Auckland trainer Barry Purdon for a winter stint, frustrated after what he calls a disappointing season.

The son of Real Desire, who ran fourth behind Lazarus in the Northern Derby two years ago and has won over $166,000, has gone winless through 14 starts this season.

He’s still earned over $50,000 for Austin, but the Weedons horseman can’t help but think his pride and joy is growing sick of Addington Raceway.

“He just hasn’t been going as well as I would have liked at Addington this season; his few starts at different tracks – Ascot Park, Ashburton and Rangiora – have been his best runs.”

The reason behind sending the horse up to Auckland was two-fold.

“The two best races of his career came at Alexandra Park; he ran fourth to Lazarus in the Derby after sitting parked and the start before that he went super when winning.

“And there is the Uncut Gems ($40,000) there a few weeks after the Jewels and then the Winter Cup after that.

“He seems to work well the ‘wrong way around’ at home, so I’m thinking he will appreciate the racing there.”

Purdon will initially take over Buster Brady for six weeks, and Austin thinks that should be plenty of time to get the best out of the horse.

“He’s only ever had a part-time trainer so I thought why not give him a chance with the best available.

“Barry seemed reasonably happy to have a go with him so we’ll have a crack.”

Austin has been tinkering with various things to try and get the best out of Buster Brady recently, including racing him free-legged.

“I’ve sent the hopples up with him and I said to Barry that it’s totally up to him what he does with him.

“I’m thinking more than likely he will put them back on; the Winter Cup is a standing start anyway so he’ll need them for that.”

At the end of the day, Austin just wants to see Buster Brady find that extra few lengths, though he thinks the racing up north might be a touch easier for him as well.

“It’s hard work down here; if you draw eight or nine in a full field over the 1950 metres, which he has been, it’s really hard work.

“And Auckland don’t get as bigger fields, plus they will probably be a little bit easier for him.

“Still, his races at Addington haven’t been up to his best when I compare them to how he trialed at Ashburton or raced at Rangiora.”

His re-introduction to northern racing will have a familiar feel about it at Alexandra Park on Friday night, though.

He has drawn three from the outside in a $17,00 mobile mile, taking on Star Galleria.

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