Shez All Rock making Kiwi debut
By Michael Guerin
The best horse trained in New Zealand most punters have never heard of faces a daunting Kiwi debut at Addington tonight.
Because dual Oaks winner Shez All Rock not only has to overcome a second line draw in the $150,000 New Zealand Oaks but her new, red hot stablemate Elle Mac.
Shez All Rock might ring a few bells with the keener New Zealand harness racing fans but to many she will be a new name. But there is no doubting her class.
She has won seven of her eight starts including the NSW and Victoria Oaks, the two strongest pacing fillies classics in Australia when trained there so she arrives here already established as the real deal.
Shez All Rock is here for a two-race campaign, tonight and the Jewels at Cambridge on June 2, and has joined the All Stars stable after being purchased by clients of former Kiwi trainer Chris Ryder.
But she has come a long way to find a horse right next door in the stabling block as her main danger and trainer Mark Purdon admits the cards are in Elle Mac’s favour tonight.
“Shez All Rock is a very good filly, no doubt about that, so we are stoked to get her, even if she isn’t here for that long,” said Purdon.
“But she is still settling in and she is very much used to the Australian style of racing, where often they go hard the whole way and because of that she really likes to run.
“Whereas our fillies are more used to distance racing and the more relaxed style over here so, with them both drawn the second line this week, you have to think Elle Mac has the advantage.
“She is on her home track, has won the Northern Oaks over 2700m and has obviously been with us from day one.
“So I am not saying she is the better filly, I guess we will find that out over the next month, but Elle Mac has a lot more in her favour this week.” Elle Mac smashed most of her rivals tonight in last week’s 1950m Nevele R Final and looks even better suited to 2600m tonight so it is hard to make a case to bet against her, no matter how good Shez All Rock is.
While she will be short odds a Purdon-Rasmussen win in tonight’s richest race looks all but a certainty.
They have the four favourites in the $170,000 Sires’ Stakes Final and Another Masterpiece deserves favouritism for an array of reasons.
He has been a constant improver at the highest level, has gate speed and the draw to use it and will only need to perform to the level in did in the Sales Series Pace two weeks ago to go very close to winning again.
Stablemate Jessie Duke should be fitter for his second in that race while War Dan Delight is something of the forgotten horse in the stable’s juvenile bunch.
He got a virus last month and is still on the way back up but Purdon says on raw ability he rates alongside the two favourites.
“They are all very similar but Another Masterpiece is the one who has the form on the board at the moment and the draw.
“But if War Dan Delight sits on his back he might run him close.”
Later in the night northern trotter Paramount King looks perfectly placed in the $70,000 Sales Series Trot with many of the stars of that grade missing.