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BLAST FROM THE PAST


2010 TROTTING OAKS: Won by Emma Hamilton

2010 DREAM WITH ME STABLE/ NZ TROTTERS TRUST NZ TROTTING OAKS

Mark Purdon is enjoying a real purple patch of form with the progeny of former top trotting racemares at the moment. On the first night of the Easter Cup carnival 10 days ago, his and training partner Grant Payne's representative I Can Doosit took out the Group 3 Four-Year-Old Trotters Championship at Addington. I Can Doosit is a son of the seven win mare Sheezadoosie, and last Friday night Purdon took major honours again in another Group 3, the $25,000 Dream With Me Stable/ NZ Trotters Trust NZ Trotting Oaks - this time with Emma Hamilton, a daughter of Miss Whiplash, who won on 13 occasions.

Friday's event was notable also for the fact that hot favourite Shezoneoftheboyz experienced defeat for the first time, breaking and losing all chance after 400 metres as she jostled for a position, and then repeating the misdemeanour swinging for home. Purdon himself had "a couple of hairy moments" early, Emma Hamilton threatening to bobble soon after the mobile was released. "She's not perfect yet," he said. "And I had to hang on to her until she got balanced up; once we'd gone three hundred metres we were alright though."

Drawn the second row Shezoneoftheboyz couldn't be in the picture early but Purdon always expected her to show up at some stage. She never did. "I had a couple of looks, and I could see Davy (Butt, driving Kahdon) but not the other filly. So I knew something must've happened to her. They were the two to beat." Wheeling past the 400m mark, Purdon had Emma Hamilton outside the leader Dixie Commando and poured the pressure on, and afterwards he said the Earl filly felt strong and was "doing it well within herself." At the finish Emma Hamilton had a length and a half to spare over Kahdon, with smaller margins back to Continental Auto and Dixie Commando, the latter doing a sterling job to stick on so well considering she's a maiden that was making her third appearance.

For Emma Hamilton, this was win number three from five starts, and now with just under $26,000 in stake earnings she is guaranteed a start in the Harness Jewels at Cambridge. Raced by Purdon and his wife Vicki together with the filly's breeders Tony and Anne Parker, the same couple that bred and raced Auckland Reactor initially, Emma Hamilton started her career in the North Island. Fifth on debut in January, she put together stylish back-to-back victories at Alexandra Park during February but then wrecked the formline with an early break next time out at Invercargill last month. "She's young and still learning, and it was just one of those occasions where she lost balance after trying to hold her spot early," Purdon said. Given a run against the pacers at the trials after that, specifically to get experience behind the mobile, Emma Hamilton "really impressed" he co-trainer/driver when finishing second to Born Again Cameo.

Her immediate programme from here is in the north again now, and she left yesterday (Tuesday) bound for familiar surrondings at the northern branch of Purdon and Payne's All Star Stables. "Before the Jewels, she'll line up over the Rowe Cup Meeting and then start in the Great Northern Derby," said Purdon, who has no qualms about taking on the 'boys' of the 3-year-old trotting ranks. "Considering what Shezoneoftheboyz and Kahdon have also done so far, the girls look a bit stronger this season. Emma Hamilton is tall and athletic-looking, but she's still not physically strong as yet. And I've always said to Tony (Parker)that if we look after her this year she could furnish into a really nice horse later on. One of her greatest attributes is her attitude; even when things got a bit dicey early on in the Oaks, she tried really hard to stay on her feet."

Credit: John Robinson writing in HRWeekly 14Apr10

 
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