Oscar not heading to Inter Dom's
By Michael Guerin
A desire to take on some on the best trotters in the world is one reason Oscar Bonavena won’t be at this season’s Inter Dominions in Auckland.
Because trainer Mark Purdon believes the sensational four-year-old is good enough to race extensively in North America and that is his ambitious long-term aim with Monday’s stunning Ashburton winner.
Purdon and training partner Natalie Rasmussen didn’t pay up yesterday for the Inter Dominions which begin at Alexandra Park on November 29, preferring to concentrate on the Dominion at Addington on November 15 and and Australia later in the season.
“I think if we look after him now it will pay dividends in the long run and the series can be hard on horses,” said Purdon.
“So he will miss the Inters and his next start will be in the Dominion.
“Then he can head north for the Flying Mile at Cambridge (Dec 24) and the National Trot (Dec 31).
“After that we want to look at Australia, where the Great Southern Star at Melton will be his big aim.” But Purdon is thinking even further ahead, with plans for Oscar Bonavena to be staked for the best races in North America and head there for a long campaign.
Just when and for how long could isn’t set in stone and could depend on how he handles their racing style and Purdon says the fine details have yet to be worked out.
“I’d love to give him his chance up there because I think he is good enough and the money is so big.
“So we will stake him for those and whether we train him up there or Chris (Ryder, part owner) takes him over we will decide closer to time.
“So while that is all a long way off that is the plan and one of the reasons we are missing the Inters.”
The thought of Oscar Bonavena maturing even more and performing to his best in the US would make local trotting fans salivate as he has the raw speed and stamina to go close to a 1:50 mile time under the right circumstances.
The Interdom trotting series has been hit hard by withdrawals but is still headlined by Marcoola, Sundees Son, Majestic Man and northern group one winners Temporale, Massive Metro and Lemond along with Australian raiders Tough Monarch and Big Jack Hammer.
The pacing series has survived the latest round of payments far more intact with most of the biggest names still there but Purdon has a very slight word of warning around second favourite Self Assured.
“At this stage we are taking him but that won’t be absolutely confirmed until after the Cup carnival because that is when we make our final decisions, after seeing how they all come through that.” So punters would be wise to hold off backing Self Assured, especially as the All Stars already have Spankem, Thefixer, Chase Auckland and Cruz Bromac for Auckland and it wouldn’t be a total shock to see Self Assured have the Miracle Mile as is prime target.
Another horse whose Inter campaign must be in doubt is Ultimate Sniper, who will be allowed to miss the New Zealand Cup after his below par performance at Ashburton on Monday.
He will instead head to the NZ Free-For-All but with so many four-year-old options in the second half of the season he is no good thing to be at Alexandra Park for the series, with the Auckland Cup on December 31 maybe a better option rather than the four-race Inters.