The trans-Tasman mane drain

Two of the north’s best pacers are joining the mane drain to Sydney but at least one them will be back in a month.

Stablemates Bad To The Bone and Mach Shard will both be in Sydney by the weekend, with Bad To The Bone already there to race this Saturday while Mach Shard flies over on Friday.

Bad To The Bone has joined the Paul Fitzpatrick stable for a Chariots of Fire campaign which begins in a qualifying race the $50,000 Hondo Grattan at Menangle this Saturday.

Co-trainer Barry Purdon says the four-year-old will stay until after the Miracle Mile carnival.

“He will definitely come back, it is just a one-month campaign,” says Purdon, who trains in partnership with Scott Phelan.

“He has got through to a very tough mark very quickly over here and obviously started in the Auckland Cup last start even though he has only won five races.

“So I’d rather target a good four-year-old race like the Chariots than race here in open class.

“The series maybe doesn’t look quite as strong as some years when the Chariots can be like a very good open class race and I think Menangle will suit him cause Addington did.

“Paul said he worked well Wednesday morning so has settled in well so we will see how he goes on Saturday.

“But after the meeting there he can come home and be set for the Taylor Mile, Messenger and Jewels as we want to support those.” The future plans for former Inter Dominion runner-up Mach Shard are more fluid as he flies to Sydney to join Belinda McCarthy, who has taken over the official running of the Craig Cross team as Cross steps away for leg surgery.

“I want to give Luke and Belinda a crack with him,” says Purdon.

“I haven’t been totally unhappy with him but he is still racing below his best and I think the change of scenery could be good for him.

“They have water walkers and pools and a lot of things we don’t have here and the change of racing style may suit him too.

“So he will go there and we will see how he goes. It is not impossible he comes home again.” The loss of Mach Shard continues the decimation of the northern open class ranks with Star Galleria also having joined the McCarthy stable while Triple Eight is based in Victoria as of this week and On The Cards has been sold to the United States.

That rips the heart out of the northern open class ranks and while none of them are good enough to beat Copy That most weeks they are important to fill open class fields and add genuine depth, with Star Galleria and Triple Eight former Auckland Cup placegetters.

The north is lucky to have a horse as good as Copy That but finding rivals to race him could be the problem.

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