Natalie Rasmussen back in the sulky
By Michael Guerin
As comeback drives go this one is about as good as it gets.
Natalie Rasmussen, one of the most feared drivers in New Zealand harness racing, returns to the race night sulky at Addington on Friday night after almost six months away and you can expect a winning return.
Rasmussen will partner Oscar Bonevana (R4, No.2) in the $20,000 Renwick Farms Free-For-All Trot in which only an early gallop would seem any threat to his unbeaten run.
Oscar Bonavena, a former age group star whose body went missing in action for three years, re-discovered his mojo in 2023 and could even be named Trotter of the Year at February's national awards.
He falls back into the perfect race as he starts what will be a busy campaign aimed at new TAB Slot Trot at Cambridge on April 12 and the Rowe Cup in May.
So he is a powerful return-to-racing partner for the Queen of Harness Racing, Rasmussen.
Rasmussen has been on top of the harness racing world for 15 years, firstly with one of the all-time greats in Blacks A Fake, who she trained and drove and then in partnership with Mark Purdon.
The pair are no longer a couple but remain close friends and while Mark has been in Australia with Don’t Stop Dreaming, Natalie has been driving work for Nathan Purdon at the All Stars property and is ready for racenight.
“I stopped driving around August as I had an operation to remove an ovarian tumour and I am healthy and feeling great,” says Rasmussen.
“Driving is like riding a bike, so I’ve fallen right back into it.
“It is nice to be back behind good horses and I thought I better get my eye in this week because I am heading to Auckland next week and will be doing quite a bit of driving up there next week alongside Mark.”
Rasmussen also partners unbeaten filly Moments Like This in race 9 and she liked the feel she gave her in trackwork on Wednesday.
“She is a really nice filly but I thought Major Hot (stablemate) would be hard to to beat too with any luck.”