Faultless Spankem too fast at Ashburton
By Jonny Turner
Spankem continued his perfect preparation for the New Zealand Cup when speeding past his star stablemates to win the Ashburton Flying Stakes yesterday.
A perfect run in the trail helped the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained 5yr-old show off his sizzling speed by zooming home to beat Thefixer and Self Assured.
His nearly perfect performances left little room for the improvement of his spring campaign leading in to the 2400m feature.
Yet the pacer managed to show off more of his big arsenal of open class weapons on Monday, when making a flying start and step straight to the lead.
His professional performance was Spankem’s last in a race before the New Zealand Cup.
The pacer will have his final public hit out ahead of the second Tuesday in November at next week’s New Zealand Cup trials.
Spankem’s New Zealand Cup quest got easier after the Ashburton Flying Stakes when owner Jean Feiss ruled out any chance of Self Assured heading to the great race.
The All Stars stable had effectively shut the door on a New Zealand Cup tilt, but had left the decision with Feiss.
Self Assured ran a huge race when fighting on for third after losing ground with a mistake at the start and sitting three wide in the open from the 600m
The 4yr-old will continue his spring campaign by having his next start in next week’s Kaikoura Cup.
Fifth placegetter Another Masterpiece and stablemate Ashley Locaz will also target the race.
Self Assured was just a head away from runner-up Thefixer at the line.
Thefixer fought gallantly after taking the lead from Spankem with a lap to go in what was a vital hit in just his second spring start.
Chase Auckland also went a big race, finishing just a nose away from Thefixer in fourth.
The 5yr-old worked in to the race three-wide after starting getting back in the field from his unruly draw.
Chase Auckland rallied well in the straight, while denied clear racing room for much of the run home.
Thefixer and Chase Auckland will join Spankem at the New Zealand Cup trials.
Clouds hang over two of the seven strong All Stars team that contested the Ashburton Flying Stakes.
Purdon and Rasmussen will ponder their next move with Ultimate Sniper after he faded to run last after starting a wide bid before the home turn.
Cruz Bromac threw a head scratching performance at the trainers in his first start back in All Stars colours when galloping free of interference in the straight.
There was no doubt over the reason for A G’s White Socks’ gallop at the start of the race after both of his hopple shorteners broke when he paced off the mark.
The Greg and Nina Hope trained pacer was around six lengths off the back of the field on settling, before he staged a big recovery to run sixth.
A G’s White Socks beat home Smokin By and Australian raider Our Uncle Sam, who disappointed in his first start on New Zealand soil.