By Garrick Knight
Chase Auckland defied a sustained betting drift to win his second feature pace of the summer, at Cambridge on Friday night.
In the hands of his co-trainer, Mark Purdon, Chase Auckland came from last, and was widest on the final bend, to bury his opponents in the $50,000 Group 2 Flying Mile.
The race didn’t pan out as most expected with outsider Dance Time, who was drawn the ace, able to hold the lead, meaning the Barry Purdon-trained pair On The Cards and Mach Shard were parked and one-one respectively.
While Dance Time finished out of the money, his stablemate, Check In, slipped up the markers to run second at odds of $126, and their stablemates Triple Eight and Step Up rounded out the first four, quite a remarkable result for the Steve Telfer-trained team.
But there was no taking away from the winner, who was clearly the best on display.
He opened a $3 second favourite on Tuesday, but after a barrage of money for Mach Shard, Chase Auckland drifted out to $4.50.
Race favourite Thefixer finished near-last but had an excuse as he cast a shoe during the running.
And given his history of feet issues, it’s put his planned Australian campaign in doubt.
“It would have happened early on because he didn’t feel that good most of the way,” driver and co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen said on the stable’s website.
“It usually would set him back long enough to delay his trip to Australia but we will wait overnight before making any decisions.”
“Everything had been going well with him and it’s a shame this has happened.”
Chase Auckland will definitely head to Melbourne on Monday, along with pacing stablemates Self Assured, Smooth Deal, Cruz Bromac and Ashley Locaz
It was a case ‘same stuff, different day’ for Purdon and Rasmussen – they also won the night’s other feature, the $30,000 Cambridge Flying Stakes, with rising star Oscar Bonavena.
He got the perfect one-one passage behind stablemate Winterfell in the six-horse field and, when asked to accelerate by Purdon a furlong out, put the field away comfortably.
Massive Metro was brave in second, narrowly ahead of Winterfell, who got caught wide early before finding ‘the chair’.
Oscar Bonavena will now head to Victoria on Monday for a slew of trotting features, starting with the Cochran Cup at Ballarat next Saturday night.