Rubira vying for four in a row

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk

Headlined by the unbeaten Rubira, the clash of the two-year-old colts and geldings will add a lot of lustre to today's seven race midweek meeting at Addington.

The $12,500 NZB National Weanling Sales Mobile Pace (6.37pm) will see the Mark and Nathan Purdon-trained star Rubira renew his rivalry with Always Dreaming and take on fellow race winners in the Robert and Jenna Dunn-trained pairing of Got The Chocolates and Malakai.

It's also a precursor to the Group 1 $110,000 NZ Welcome Stakes at Addington on Friday week (May 17).

"He's still learning but he has a great will to win," says Blair Orange, who has driven him to victory in all three of his race day starts, "and he's winning in different ways."

"In the first one he trailed, then he was three wide and parked and in the last one was three wide and then went to the front and stayed there."

"He's pretty versatile."

In his last start, the Group 1 Diamond Creek Classic at Invercargill, he just held out the Nathan Williamson-trained and driven Always Dreaming. He'll be a race rival again and has drawn seven, one place inside Rubira.

"The wide draw doesn't make it easy," says Orange, "and we certainly don't take any of the others lightly."

"Nathan's one got very close last time and the Dunns' ones have been running good races too - you take nothing for granted with the babies."

As well as Got The Chocolates (John Dunn) and Malakai (Tim Williams), the Dunns will line up Bruntwood Brigade. He is one of three first starters - the among two being Sacetas for trainer Tom Bagrie and the Darren Keast-trained Bettor Fortune.

As a very handy second stringer to Rubira, the Purdons will also have the well performed Party Central in the race.

To be driven by Natalie Rasmussen, he's drawn well at two over the 1980 metres.

He's placed in both his race day starts and is raced by the same ownership group as Rubira's (Mrs G J Kennard, P I Kennard, Breckon Racing Syndicate, G A Woodham, Mrs K J Woodham, R Cole, Mrs S A Cole).

Vying for his seventh consecutive driving premiership Orange is the leading driver again in 2024, with 70 wins. John Dunn is currently second on 57, with Tim Williams on 47.


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