Veteran pair in raptures over A G’s White Socks
By Garrick Knight
It’s not often two Maurice McKendry and Barry Purdon combine in victory these days.
And it’s even less so that either really talks up a horse.
But in the case of A G’s White Socks, upset winner of the second pacing heat at the Auckland Inter Dominions, both trends were bucked.
Purdon was quick to shift the praise for the win, modestly pointing out that usual trainers Greg and Nina Hope had the horse this time last week.
“I’ve only had him a few days, really.
“So that’s all down to Greg and Nina; they’ve done all the work on him.
“Greg said he was rapt with the way he worked before he left and that’s why he put him on the plane north.”
Purdon worked the horse on Wednesday and liked what he felt. Really liked.
“He worked really good. He’s just such a lovely horse with really high speed.
So, does he think he can win a final in 14 days’ time?
“Absolutely I do.”
McKendry was actually offered the horse to look after for the series, but after recently selling his property on the Pukekohe track’s perimeter, it wasn’t going to be a suitable arrangement.
“Greg rung me up and asked if I could look after him but I had just shifted away from the track and Greg felt that probably wasn’t going to suit the big bigger, being trucked in every morning.
“So, he sent him to Barry and I thought that was the end of it. I assumed Ricky May was going to come up and drive him.“
But May stayed home so McKendry got the call up and didn’t disappoint.
With Australian favourite Bling It On in front and New Zealand Cup winner Cruz Bromac parked, McKendry didn’t fancy his chases from three back on the outer.
“He was just flopping along in behind, nice and relaxed but I thought the horses up front would be hard to beat.
“Then when I came out and he balanced up, he just went ‘swish’.
“It was terrific speed. He’s a really lovely horse.”
New Zealand Cup winner Cruz Bromac was brave in running second for co-trainer Mark Purdon after sitting parked for the last lap while stablemate Thefixer flashed through for third.
Star Galleria and Triple Eight both also finished the race off nicely to secure a decent chunk of points.
Bling It On dropped out to finished second last after trucking on the point of the turn.
Driver Luke McCarthy said the veteran stallion went from ‘travelling’ to ‘gone’ in the space of a few strides.
“I’m disappointed, but not panicking.
“He probably hasn’t led in a race for four years so he didn’t really know how to handle it.
“He hit the wheels a couple of times too and was probably just struggling for breath in the finish.
“Hopefully next week we can get a draw that allows him to follow a helmet.”