Favs rolled but All Stars still win pair of G1s

by Garrick Knight

A major betting shift came off, a white-hot favourite was rolled and a rising trotting star announced himself, as three Group 1 races were resulted at Alexandra Park on Friday night.

The all-conquering stable of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen managed to win both the Caduceus Club 2YO Fillies Classic and the Taylor Mile for four-year-olds despite both crack pacers, and favourites, Sweet On Me and Turn It Up, being beaten.

Sweet On Me, unbeaten in four starts to date, was usurped by her stablemate Amazing Dream in a national record time of 2.40.3 (1.57.3 MR) for the 2200-metre trip.

The former was a $1.15 favourite and brave in defeat after working round to sit parked mid-race but was unable to resist the latter, who came up the passing lane after enjoying a sweet trip in the trail.

It was Purdon and Rasmussen’s sixth-straight win in the juvenile classic and the third in four years for Amazing Dream’s Melbourne owner, Jean Feiss, who also won it in 2016 with Spanish Armada and 2017 with Elle Mac.

Rasmussen, who drove the winner, said she wasn’t completely surprised by the upset win.

“I’ve been pretty confident with this one from the early days; she does have a bit of get up and go.

“She’s probably been a little bit stiff with draws, except that one time when she did lead and win at Addington.

“She’s always had the ability but she’s a round little girl and I think just the racing has sort of done her really good and she’s a bit harder and fitter now.

“Jean’s here tonight, too, so I’m just thrilled.”

Rasmussen was full of compliments for Sweet On Me, who lost no admirers in running second.

“Her run was excellent with the tempo they were going and when Mark had to pull the plugs at the top of the straight, she really knuckled down and tried but this one (Amazing Dream) just had the better trip.”

Rasmussen was at it again a few races later in the Taylor Mile, landing a sustained betting shift for race favourite Spankem, who rated 1.53.4 when leading and winning.

He had opened at a quote of better than $3 but had moved ‘in to the red’ by mid-afternoon before settling at $2.20 come post time.

The reason was probably due to Purdon declaring during the week that Spankem would likely lead and not hand up to his stablemate, who would have to sit parked.

Spankem is unbeaten when leading, and won this year’s Miracle Mile from that position, so it was always going to be a massive advantage for him.

While the time was slick, a soft 32.6 second quarter took the back-runners out of play and Spankem fired home in 54.5 and 26.1 to get the chocolates.

Rasmussen was full of praise for the son of Bettor’s Delight, who could well be a candidate for Horse of the Year if he was to win next week’s Messenger Championship too.

“He’s just a lovely little horse and the draw was on his side tonight, drawing inside of Turn It Up.

“He was very genuine to the line and he has his little ears pricked after the line so he just felt super doing it.”

The feature trot of the night saw the arrival of a future star of the sport in Sundees Son, who produced a staggering display to second-rate a field of hardened Group 1 winners.

Last at the half-mile, he was launched around the field with a withering burst of speed by driver John Dunn, put leader Marcoola to the sword on the point of turn and raced clear for a comprehensive win.

The four-year-old, once maligned for often breaking very late in his races, has come of age this campaign and is part of a formidable wave of new blood entering the trotting ranks along with fellow four-year-olds King’s Landing, Winterfell and Forget The Price Tag, who won earlier in the night.

Majestic Man found the line well for third, the southern pair split by Lemond, who came out of the one-one to run second, while grand campaigner Speeding Spur finished on in to fourth.

Dunn said a myriad of racing as a young horse prepared Sundees Son well to be scrapping with older veterans as a four-year-old.

“He got hardened up at two, had a lot of racing, then at three he backed up and raced again and was really mentally and physically toughened up.

“So, it was a good effort for a four-year-old to take on these open class trotters like that.”

While next week’s Rowe Cup is over two miles and a vastly different kettle of fish, he has already shown himself to be a rough-and-ready stayer at Addington so will now be firmly in the mix.

The race was thrown an early curveball when race favourite Massive Metro galloped off the arm and took no part.

Later, Temporale dropped out to finish last of the main bunch after sitting parked while Marcoola also faded to finish beyond midfield, recent setbacks no doubt catching up with both horses.

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