Purdon’s faith rewards with polished performance
By Jonny Turner
It’s All About Faith took a crucial step forward when nabbing a game B D Joe in a thrilling finish to the Sires Stakes Final on New Zealand Cup Day.
The towering three-year-old continued trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen’s domination of the 1980m Group 1 feature by nailing his northern rival on the passing lane inside the last 50m.
Though he has been clearly established as a star of his age group since first hitting the track, It’s All About Faith has been a constant work in progress for his master trainers.
The colt’s tendency to over-race has seen him having owners Dennis and Mark Dunford having to settle with Group 1 second placings and another runner-up finish in the recent Harness Million final.
It’s All About Faith rewarded his camp for their fine tuning and patience courtesy of some quick thinking from Purdon after B D Joe blasted out of the gate to cross to the lead.
Rather than do the expected – zip around to the front with his $2.40 favourite – the champion reinsman took a gamble and slotted into the trail.
“I could have pushed the issue for another 100m, but I thought it could have been our undoing too,” Purdon said.
“At the Cup Trials I let him come to me, I am trying to teach him to take a trail.”
“And today he settled and just drifted a length or a length and a half off the leader’s back.”
It’s All About Faith not only bagged a deserved group 1 victory, he gave Purdon confidence he could again have the measure of his key rivals B D Joe, Krug (fourth) and American Dealer (sixth) when stepping up to the 2600m and 2700m of this year’s derbies.
“Today I was just so pleased with him because he has worried me going over distance – whether he can do it.”
“But the way he was today I wouldn’t be worried at all.”
It’s All About Faith showed he still has a trick or two up his sleeve when putting his head on his side as he clinched his group 1 win.
The victory was the sixth consecutive win in the race for the All Stars stable following on from One Change, Ultimate Sniper, Chase Auckland, Ultimate Machete, Lazarus and Have Faith In Me.
B D Joe was brave in second for trainers Steve and Amanda Telfer and driver Benjamin Butcher.
The runner-up just succumbing to the winner in the last few strides of the race.
“We were thrilled,” Steve Telfer said.
“We were pleased he was able to take advantage of his good draw and he fought all of the way up the straight.”
B D Joe’s fighting effort came in just his sixth start, suggesting he has as much upside as any horse going forward from today’s group 1 feature.
The Telfer barn plan to look after the pacer as best they can to help him snare a group 1.
“That is what we are hoping – but they have still got to step up and do it,” Telfer said.
“He has been on a very steep curve so far and he has handled everything that we have thrown at him.”
“So long as we look after him and place him right he should continue to develop.”
B D Joe held second by over a tenacious Aladdin, who sat parked for the entirety of the Sires Stakes Final.