Ultimate Machete out of Cup
NZ HARNESS NEWS
The New Zealand Trotting Cup has lost its second leading contender in a week following the withdrawal of Ultimate Machete on Monday.
Last week it was Perth star Chicago Bull who was withdrawn with a back injury following his impressive win in Auckland and now the sole Australian raider Tiger Tara is the firm favourite for next week’s $800,000 feature.
Ultimate Machete was the early Cup favourite but some dodgy standing start displays followed by a flat effort at Addington last Friday night, when the five-year-old Bettor’s Delight entire finished a very disappointing sixth, saw him drift in the market to the third line of betting.
“We got the vet (Lindsay Colwell) to him on Saturday and she strongly suspected it was a foot abscess although nothing has come to the surface just yet,” said Purdon.
“But we worked him this morning and he clearly wasn’t right, so we made the call to pull him out of the Cup.
“If the hoof does burst out in the coming days as we fully expect, there simply won’t be enough time to get him right again and ready for the Cup.”
Purdon is still hopeful Ultimate Machete will be able to start in the FFA on Show Day, a race he won last year over Tiger Tara and Jack’s Legend in an all-comers national record mile rate of 1.51.9, but that will very much depend on what unfolds in coming days and he is probably only a 50/50 chance at best, according to Purdon.
Purdon will now take the drive in the Cup behind the Australian-owned Cruz Bromac, who won the Methven Cup so brilliantly last month in his New Zealand debut.
Cruz Bromac will be starting in Wednesday’s Cup Trial along with stablemate Eamon Maguire and fellow Cup candidates Forgotten Highway and Jack’s Legend.
The more likely course for Ultimate Machete will see him targeting Alexandra Park on New Year’s Eve.
“We didn’t nominate Ultimate Machete for the Inter Dominions as I don’t think he’d handle three races in a week, so if he doesn’t race next week, we’ll just reset our sights on the Auckland Cup instead.”
As a driver, Purdon has won three of the last four New Zealand Cups with Lazarus and Adore Me, and came a close second in the other with Smolda, who was beaten by Arden Rooney in 2015.