Ultimate Sniper has arrived
NZ HARNESS NEWS
Ultimate Sniper confirmed his status as a superstar three-year-old with a crushing win in the $170,000 Sires Stakes Final at Addington on New Zealand Cup day.
Not even racing three-wide and then sitting parked for the last lap could stop the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained pacer from producing a stunning victory.
Stopping the clock in a sizzling 1-52.9-mile rate only added to the enormity of his victory with Rasmussen in the sulky.
Ultimate Sniper’s win was eerily similar to that of his full brother, Ultimate Machete, in the New Zealand Free For All during last year’s New Zealand Cup carnival.
Both horses are raced by All Stars stable owners Philip and Glenys, Phil and Margaret Creighton, Gavin Douglas and Kevin Riseley.
It looked an easy decision for the Kennards, who syndicated both horses as yearlings, to purchase Ultimate Sniper after already securing the talented Ultimate Machete.
But the decision went against one of the principles that have guided the couple to incredible success with their purchases.
“We don’t usually buy full brothers, but Mark liked him and he left it to Glenys and I to decide,” Philip Kennard said.
“We debated it, debated it and debated it and we kept coming back to the fact we kept liking him.”
Though they share the same sort of incredible ability and the same pedigree page there are differences between the brothers.
“Sniper is so much more friendly, Ultimate Machete will play-bite you.”
“But this fella will stand in the stables resting his head on the chain, he is so relaxed.”
Kennard refers to the owners of the two brothers as the ‘Major Mark’ group.
They did not get off to a good start when the first horse they purchased together died in the late 2000s.
Since then, the partners have compiled an incredible record of success and have won an estimated 23 Group 1 races together.
“We call it the Major Mark syndicate because Major Mark was the first really good horse we raced together.
“I would hate to think how much money these guys and I have spent over the past ten to twelve years.”
“Half of these guys don’t even see the horses, but they line up and write the cheques out. But they have had some pretty good returns.”
Despite being a prolific winner of big races the thrill of such an epic Group 1 victory was not lost on Kennard.
“Horses are not supposed to do that.
“I was getting wobbly knees and getting the speed wobbles and I was not even out there.”
Tuesday’s feature turned in to a three-horse war before the home turn.
It was down to the leader, Heisenberg, the trailer, Jesse Duke, and the parked Ultimate Sniper to fight out the finish.
Despite looking under extreme pressure before the home turn, Ultimate Sniper fought tenaciously to win by three-quarters-of-a-length over Jesse Duke.
Heisenberg fought on for third, another four-and-a-quarter-lengths away.
Ultimate Sniper gave Purdon and Rasmussen their fifth consecutive win in the three-year-old male pacers’ Sires Stakes Final.