"Nervous" trainer poised for Addington debut

5.08pm tonight will be a tense time for Alison Ward.

“I’m nervous already”, she said ahead of her training debut in the first at Addington.

Tornado Banner is not the first horse she has had shares in but it’s the first one she’s taken to the races wearing her own turquoise and purple colours.

She bought the horse at the 2017 Yearling Sales in Christchurch.

“She came into the ring and I saw she was from a good family and I couldn’t fault her and she went up to $20,000 which was my budget …. and I thought I’d missed out but then went one more and got her.”

Since then there have been some challenges, with the filly fracturing a pastern early on and then suffering a bout of colitis. But make it to the races she has, after being in winning form at her qualifier in Rangiora last week.

The “resilient” filly has drawn one on the second line in the IRT. Your Horse. Our Passion. Fillies and Mobile Pace (1980, with Mark Purdon taking the drive.

“The draw is awkward, she has a good turn of foot but she could get three back, so it might be a good draw or a horror draw.”

Ward works for Purdon and Hayden Cullen at their Rolleston barn as a stablehand and “I drive a bit of trackwork.”

An Australian she left Perth to work at the then All Stars stable of Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen.

“I thought I’d work with Mark and Nat for six months, not knowing I’d still be there four and a half years later.”

Her partner is also Mark’s son Michael Purdon.

But she doesn't train where she works.

"I train her at Grant Payne's at West Melton after work."

On the fixed odds Tornado Banner is a $5.50 third favourite tonight , behind Mitsi Gaynor ($2.70) and Nikki Noto ($4.80).


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