Turn It Up digs deep to win Easter Cup

by Jonny Turner

The equine freak show rolled on at Addington on Friday night when Turn It Up willed his way to winning the Easter Cup.

The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained four-year-old dug deep in to his stamina reserves to score his second career Group 1 on a testing track.

Turn It Up continued his remarkable season, which he entered after having just three starts, and again cemented himself in the very top tier of New Zealand’s pacers.

That rise continued last night and it is one that has Purdon, the conditioner of so many superstars before him, in awe.

“It is just unheard of what he has done,” the trainer-driver said.

The rain soaked Addington track took its toll on the usually lightning fast Turn It up.

The pacer did not hit the passing lane after turning for home with his usual lightning quick dash.

That meant Purdon had to ask Turn It Up to dig deep and he did exactly that.

“The conditions were so testing and it was his first run in quite a while.”

“It was just all heart that got him to the line.”

“It was a very courageous effort.”

Turn It Up’s victory should serve as a massive warning shot ahead of the upcoming Taylor Mile and New Zealand Messenger Championships at Alexandra Park.

Purdon confirmed the pacer would be even harder to beat with more race fitness on his side.

While Turn It Up was building momentum steadily on the passing lane, after trailing the leader Henry Hubert for the last lap, A G’s White Socks was flashing home.

The Greg and Nina Hope trained pacer came up just a nose short of victory and was forced to play a supporting role.

Though narrowly beaten, Greg Hope was proud of his horse’s effort in the testing conditions.

“He went a great race.”

“He will go to the Rangiora Classic and then he has a big season ahead of him next year with the Interdominions after the Cup meeting.”

Thefixer battled away solidly for third placing ahead of Henry Hubert, who did not help his chances with a minor mistake at the start.

Hail Christian produced one of the runs of the race when rushing in to fifth placing, after being buried four back on the pegs.

Miracle Mile winner, Spankem, battled in to sixth placing, behind his stablemate Elle Mac, after sitting parked in the tough conditions for the last lap.

Two races after Turn It Up scored, Purdon and Rasmussen rolled out their next superstar.

Ultimate Sniper confirmed his status as the country’s leading three-year-old with a seemingly effortless win in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby.

Rasmussen took no chances when driving the favourite, taking the pacer to the lead early in the event. 

No other horse challenged the pair thereafter and Ultimate Sniper won his second derby with ease.

Supreme Dominator rallied well for second after trailing the favourite.

Jesse Duke ran yet another placing in a major race when sticking on for third, after working to the parked position with the 800m to run. 

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