Hambo success for Mystic Max
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Mystic Max showed why he shouldn’t be discounted in the three-year-old trotting ranks with his victory in the Group 3 Hambletonian Classic (1700m) at Ashburton Raceway on Monday.
The Village Mystic colt was unperturbed by the initial false start and from his ace draw he found himself three back on the markers after beaten for early speed by fancied runners Hot To Trot and Paramount Empress.
Owner-trainer Michael Purdon was pleased to see his charge given a soft trip by Blair Orange, who presented Mystic Max into a gap at an opportune time down the straight where he was able to run over the top of his foes to record a half-length victory.
“I was rapt with how he went,” Purdon said.
“The false start didn’t worry him, he has always been quite good like that.
“Blair couldn’t have handled him any better, everything worked out well for him from that barrier.
“Every time he has sit-sprinted he has always made ground on whoever is setting the pace. When he got the soft trip, I thought he would be thereabouts.”
While Mystic Max brought his manners on Monday, the same couldn’t be said for his previous outing where he broke at the start from the stand, extinguishing his chances in his 2600m event.
However, mobiles are another story according to his handler, who is excited about the big races and potential cheques that now lie ahead for his colt in the latter part of the year.
“I think the mobile definitely helps,” Purdon said.
“He definitely gives me a bit of confidence (from today’s result), but when you are racing the best of your age group you can’t expect to just to win, but today he showed he is going to be up there with them.”
Mystic Max is proving to be a bargain buy for Purdon, who purchased him off breeders Tardina Lodge for $9,501.
Purdon spent a year working for Yabby Dam Farm trainer Anton Golino in Victoria and he said listening to the well-travelled horseman’s tales instigated his interest in European racing.
He began to follow racing in the region, particularly France, and when scouring a standardbred.gavelhouse.com catalogue his eye was taken by the pedigree of Mystic Max, a colt by French stallion Village Mystic, who was available to New Zealand and Australian breeders through Haras des Trotteurs.
Purdon was familiar with the deeds of the Group One winning son of Love You and was pleasantly surprised to see one of his progeny offered in the sale.
“I have been following European racing mainly since working for Anton Golino in Melbourne,” Purdon said.
“He had travelled around America and Europe, and the way he used to talk about European racing really piqued my interest.
“I found him (Mystic Max) on gavelhouse. He was bred by Tardina Lodge and I was quite familiar with the stallion, but I didn’t realise he was available here.
“When I saw him, I decided I would get him if I could because I knew the job his sire was doing in France. Thankfully I was able to purchase him.”
Mystic Max has now won four and placed in six of his 14 starts, with his victories including the Group 2 Sires’ Stakes 2YO Trotting Championship (1980m) and Hambletonian, while his placings include the Group 1 Harness Jewels 2YO Ruby (1609m) and Group 2 Sires’ Stakes 3YO Trotting Championship (2200m).