* Sicario trials in 1.55.3 at Menangle in 9.5m victory-BC heats (also for More the Better, Partyon ) next
DUANE MARFISI RE-ESTABLISHING HIMSELF IN CANADA
Sky Major is no longer part of the plan but former All Stars foreman, Duane Marfisi, is making a good fist of re-establishing himself in Canadian pacing circles after an absence of several years.
"It's taking time but I expected that You don't just walk back in and start where you left off. But we've got a team of around 14-15 a mixture of young horses and older ones and we are building up the operation again"
Duane returned home this year when his wife, Janet, was offered a prestigious position at the University of Geulph in Ontario. Duane was understandably reluctant to leave because of the wonderful association he had had with Mark and Natalie which he regarded as a career highlight. But family comes first and with Janet's position and the keenness of his family to return there was never much doubt shifting back was inevitable.
"We bought a house here recently and are really settling in. Janet's job is working out well and I am back doing what I like doing best"
Sky Major gave Duane a huge thrill when the Trevor Casey and John Lohan owned gelding won first up for him in Canada early this year.
The former Barry Purdon-trained star went close to 1.50 and thoughts turned to the rich Yonkers series for older pacers but unhappily that win was the highlight,
Sky Major only finsihed fifth in a race Duane was sure he would win second up when it transpired his bleeding history had returned. He raced on Lasix after that but broke down with a leg injury some time ago and had to be retired.
"It was a disappointment but that's racing. You are always expecting something might happen to these older horses. They have been through a lot by the time they race at this level"
Duane was a tremendous admirer of the skills of Mark and Natalie as trainers and he knew what he was talking about. He worked for some time with the great Bill Robinson in the States, the man who prepared Cam's Card Shark (which Duane regularly drove in work) Precious Bunny and Presidential Ball so working with great horsepeople was no novelty.
"Because of the racing style here I am a bit limited in how many of Mark and Natalie's methods I can use from a practical point of view but I often reflect back on that time when I am doing my thinking about a horse"
"Horses race here more often so the training regime is lighter otherwise you would overload them and there are other differences. But I still think fondly of my time in New Zealand and I am looking forward to meeting up with Mark and Natalie during the World Driver's Championship."
QUEENSLAND DERBY TO MORE THE BETTER AND LEAVES NO EXCUSES
Mark in unusual role of Derby winning owner and shares triumph with Roy (on course) and Sir David Levene.
Breeders Crown next.
Racing Team Updated
Natalie and Mark Dominate Addington statistics
Jewels Day-Special Events Page
*Duplicated and Indianna Dreaming to both spell after Addington
(for Mark's comments on the mighty Smolda see the Smolda page
It was a great trip to Brisbane with Dad able to be there and Michael and Nathan came along as well so a real familyaffair. Unfortunately Dad's partner in More the Better, Sir David Levene, was not able to travel but Dad kept him up to date during the trip and Pilch was there as a backup. It all went smoothly and a big effort from the horse because he had to work hard to get to the front and wasn't given much peace after that. Its on to the heats for the Crown now with the three of them. I have been of the opinion that if they can't win their heat I won't be chasing the Repecharge heats with them so we will have to see how that goes. I will be on my way to Canada for the World Championships by then.
41 Premier Wins Overall-Addington Domination
It won't be any surprise but All Stars principals Mark and Natalie again dominate most of the Addington Raceway season premierships again this season. Highlights
*They have had 51 wins on the track from 166 starters for a UDR of .4351, 27 wins ahead of the next best stable, that of Robert Dunn
*Their UDR rating is also the best well ahead of the late Mike Austin who nonetheless went out with a .3000 UDR his best
*Natalie has posted another UDR driving record. She had a remarkable 29 wins from 51 drives a ratio of .6580 well ahead of Dexter Dunn on .3431
*Last season Mark set what Addington racing manager Brian Rabbitt said was "an amazing statistic" with a driving UDR of .62 And it's only lasted 12 months !
*Spanish Armada still holds the lead in the Filly and Mare Competition with five wins from six starts at the track.
*The leading strike rate horses from All Stars beside Spanish Armada are Lazarus (also five wins from six starts); Spankem (four from five) ; The Devil's Own (four from six) and the ill fated Riccardo and Stars Align (three from seven)
The Week: I have finally been able to make a decision about the timing of a shoulder operation which has been in the works for a while now. I am due to go under the knife at the end of this month (27th) and have been told it will be 12 weeks before I can return to full use though that will depend on the pace of the recovery. It's been quite frustrating because first I had to gain ACC approval for the operation and then try and arrange a date for it which had the least disruption for all concerned. It is either now or in December and while no date is ever going to be suitable this looks like the best compromise. I talked it over with Mark because there's a lot going on at the stable in that period and I appreciate how important staff numbers are at that time. He thought it would be best to get it done as soon as possible and go from there.
The shoulder has given me trouble for a while now. It hasn't affected my driving but its a constant niggle. It happened when I was leading one and had to lean over to get it back in line and I have just done a bit of damage in there and it will have to be got right sooner or later. As I said there is no "good time" to get it done but I will bite the bullet and hope all goes well for driving again in the later spring.
Best Each Way:
The Week: Taking part in the New Zealand Driver's Championship. I am donating my fees to Ronald McDonald House again because they do such a great job.
Best each way:
The Week. jonny is resuming this week
Best each Way:
ROY AND HIS RUNNERS
-MASTER TRAINER ROY PURDON LOOKS BACK ON THE HORSES AND TIMES THAT MADE HIM FAMOUS
It looks like we are all set for Brisbane for the Derby and I am really looking forward to it. As I have said most years when I was training Barry did the Australian trips and Mark was there for some of them. I stayed at home to look after the team, but I was really quite happy to do it. So going over as an owner will be something different. Pilch is coming with us so it is a fairly strong team with Mark in charge . Pilch and I both use the wheelchairs at the airport now and really we couldn't travel without that help. I found that when I went to Sydney for the Miracle Mile meeting. It just made so much difference not having to stand a long time in the airport terminals. It looks like Mark will have to do the pushing. I just hope he doesn't lose control if we are going downhill!
More the Better is looking a strong contender on his form and naturally I have been thrilled with that. He hasn't had a lot of luck this season and seems to be coming into his own a bit now. You can't count your chickens in this game just the same. I just hope we have a good trip, he goes a good race and we all get safely back again!
STATS CORNER (2) -THE LEADING AUSTRALASIAN STAKES EARNERS
1 Black's a Fake $4.575m 2 Im Themightyquinn $4.567m 3-Smoken Up $3.66m 4-Mr Feelgood* $3.36m 6- Monkey King $3.33 m 7 Lennytheshark $2.56 8 Smolda $2.4om-9Terror To Love $2.377m 10 Changeover $2.32m 11-Shakamaker $2.29m
*Mr Feelgood earned the bulk of his stakes in the USA
Other horses we have found to have won over $A2m in descending order- Our Sir Vancelot, Lyell Creek*, Christen Me, Beautide, Village Kid, and Westburn Grant.
NZ ONLY -Elsu won over $NZ2m while Luxury Liner, Christopher Vance, Chokin, Auckland Reactor, Master Musician, Holmes D G and Yulestar won between$1.7m and $1.9m each.
*Lyell Creekwon over $2.9m according to his New Zealand record which would place him 7th on our overall(unofficial) list