YEAR: 2010


Because numbers are thin at the top end, I Can Doosit will line up in the Group 1 NZ Trotting Championship at Addington this Friday night. That's half the reason why, the other is the horse's undeniable talent - which was on display again in no uncertain terms when I Can Doosit waltzed away with last Saturday's $25,000 Lone Star Bar & Cafe 4-Year-Old Trotters Championship. The son of Muscles Yankee joined in and breezed on by near the business end of the 2600m Group 3 event, putting away his stablemate Pocaro and the rampant pacemaker McCready with ease as he won in a super quick 3.18.

Co-trainer Mark Purdon wasn't in the sulky this time, the reins instead being handed to Blair Orange as Purdon sat behind Pocaro, and he got to experience I Can Doosit's continuing dominance from another perspective. This was win number eight from just 12 starts and the fifth in succession for I Can Doosit, who was having his first look around Addington after a northern assault that saw him burst onto the trotting scene.

"There's been real improvement in him over the last eight to ten weeks," Purdon said, not meaning to state the obvious. "And there's some very nice horses in that intermediate grade in Auckland, but at his last start before returning south I was just so impressed with how he picked them up inside the last one hundred and fifty metres. He's a very, very promising type."

I Can Doosit is the third foal of Chiola Hanover mare Sheezadoosie, following in the footsteps of Continentaldoosie (1 win) and his highly regarded year-older full-brother Sno's Big Boy (11 wins to date). Purdon knows the breed well too, because he trained Sheezadoosie throughout her career and drove her in all but one of her seven victories. "She was never a naturally-gaited trotter," he recalled. "She's got better as she got older, but she was never fool-proof and wasn't one of those horses you could throw the reins at. So she did pretty well to get as far as she did."

Purdon considers himself "very lucky" to have I Can Doosit in the stable. The gelding was bred by Ken Breckon's company Breckon Bloodstock Ltd and is owned by a syndicate he manages called Breckon Bloodstock, and if I Can Doosit hadn't been a late withdrawal from the Sales as a youngster he could have well been doing all his winning for someone else. "He got hurt, doing significant damage to the tendons around the fetlock in a hind leg after being caught in a fence," Purdon said. "I had inspected him at Yarndley Farms leading up to the Sales, and he was a real standout. There's no doubt that he would have been a $100,000 yearling had he not got injured."

I Can Doosit began his career at Winton less than a year ago, running third on debut before winning at Oamaru and then Timaru during May. "He just scraped into the Jewels, but if anything he was on the way 'down' again because he'd done a lot in a short time. Tony (Herlihy) drove him for us that day, and he said the horse wanted to do it but just couldn't handle himself over a mile. Pocaro was way above him at that stage; he's really closed the gap now."

Purdon has both trained and sat behind some star trotters in his time, and even though he knows I Can Doosit's not quite up there yet, he says the 4-year-old's not far away. "He's such a great stayer, that's his forte, and I think his performance and time last week reflects that he's ready for the next level. You can do anything with him - go to the front or sit parked; he's a real nice horse. And we haven't ruled out this year's Rowe Cup with him either."

Credit: John Robinson writing in HRWeekly 8Apr10


YEAR: 2011

Dr Hook (inner) holds out Springbank Richard (1)

Dr Hook was the winner, leading throughout for Jimmy Curtin, Springbank Richard was the best of seconds, and Beat The Monarch was a chirpy third at long odds after trailing.

Raydon, I Can Doosit and the Swedish mare Annicka all ran well enough to expect at least more of the same this week, but not everyone was happy. Chris Lang was back at the drawing board after Sundon's Gift ran well below his best, even taking a tough trip into account. "No matter how you look at it, that was a bad run," he said. Sundon's Gift was parked, and started losing ground before the turn. Lang said the horse should have stayed on better than he did, in spite of the run he had.

Further up, there were good reports, especially from Mark Purdon and Anthony Butt. "I'm very happy with him," said Purdon, of I Can Doosit, who added that Auckland Reactor had resumed work with the intention of racing again soon. "He did a bit of work early, and had the run he needed."

Butt was just as upbeat with Annicka, and expects her to be a formidable threat this week, when trainer Jorgen Westholm will take over. "She got held up on the corner behind Sundon's Gift and wanted to hang a bit when we came out. She found the line well, and she went to the end of the back straight before I could pull her up."

Phil Williamson was a man on more of a mission with Springbank Richard, whose form had been patchy at best and a worry at worst. The race would give him a bead on just wherehis form sat - and it did. From three-deep, Springbank Richard flashed into second, which carried the message Williamson was after. "It was just the run we wanted. He's a very nice horse when he's on his game. If he's as good late on as he was tonight, he's got a real chance in the Final," he said.

Paul Nairn had Dr Hook in grand shape and still expects him to get better. "He has only raced once since the Cup Meeting, and he's always happier racing right-handed," he said. Asked whether three races in a fortnight might be a hurdle for the 5-year-old, Nairn said: "I'm sure he's done it before ... on the Coast, three races in five days. I know he will be a stronger horse in a year or two, but he's fit and there's no point in being here if your not. As far as being good enough, he'll answer that question."

Credit: Mike Grainger writing in HRWeekly 30Mar11


YEAR: 2011


Ken Breckon couldn't believe his luck - flying back from Melbourne last week on a seat in row 13. He'd gone over from Auckland a few days earlier sitting in row 13. Here he was, 13 years since his entry into harness racing after buying a filly by Butler B G from Sandy Yarndley. And here he is, at Alexandra Park, watching I Can Doosit start from gate 13 in the $250,000 Dream With Me Inter-Dominion Trotting Grand Final.

The outcome was a stunning Kiwi triumph over the Australian star Let Me Thru, with Stylish Monarch closing on them well but too late for third and Raydon was fourth after a tough ride in the open for much of the last lap.

Breckon is one of the young pillars of the industry, and only the pressure of his booming Hydroflow business has forced him to step down from the vice-presidency of the Auckland Trotting Club. But his breeding and racing activities through the purchase three years ago of the iconic Yarndley Farms nursery are multipling by the month. "We've got twenty-three of our own mares and I'd like to have fifty, and they'll be at the top of the market," he said. "In the past we've sold three or four yearlings at the Sales, but we're getting to the commercial level now and next year we should be offering ten."

As well, he's a champion supporter of local stables, with Mark Purdon and Grant Payne training three, Steven Reid five, Tony Herlihy some, and syndicate horses with them and Geoff Small.

Breckon will be the first to say it hasn't always been as smooth sailing as it is now. Losing his brother Peter from a sudden heart attack at the age of 43 eight years ago gave him the impetus to extend his interests when it could have worked in reverse. "We'd always been racing people. My father and my grandfather were keen on the punting side. Our work took us into the farming community, where we'd meet stock and station agents and retired farmers and they all had horses. Peter probably had a bigger desire than me to get started. He was a good talker and got me across the line, and we went and bought the yearling that was Megaera through the late Leo George."

I Can Doosit is an early product of Breckon's enterprise. He is from Sheezadoosie, a good trotting mare by Chiola Hanover who won seven races and is the dam of a 3-year-old sister to I Can Doosit. Like the runner-up, Let Me Thru, he's achieved stunning results at a young age. Both are only five, and both are magnificent types by Muscles Yankee. "We've had our up and downs this Summer, and Mark's been under pressure with the horse," he said. "From a layman's point of view, he's done a huge job to peak him on a very short campaign."

Part of the chorus were his sons, 9-year-old Andrew and 11-year-old George. "I encourage them to come. When we bring them to the races our horses win - or win more often. The folk here say if they were theirs, they'd be here every week." Breckon is confident of his growing committment to harness racing. "It's going through a lull, but it will bounce back. The future is globalisation. You can see it here with the number of people here tonight, and horse not only from Australia but Sweden. And the sponsors of the next Inter-Dominions are a firm from Sweden."

Breckon is going that way himself. With a staff of over 100, he has expanded into Australia and Fiji, and there are five full-time on the farm. He has plans to spend $2 million on the farm, including a new house and room for guests.

Breckon was never too certain of victory, even when I Can Doosit appeared to clain Let Me Thru with some finality. Let Me Thru was a thorny fighter, and rallied from being passed and being down half a length 50 metres out to close again and miss by a neck. Chris Lang jnr knew Maurice McKendry would give up the lead on Sovereignty when he came looking. "He's not silly," he said. "Springbank Richard brought himself undone racing outside us like that. It may have been why we lost by a neck and the other horse won by a neck. My horse felt good in the warm-up. When we got to the front, I thought 'good luck' to the others if they can run him down. I always felt he was a show of winning down the straight. Next year he'll be bigger and better."

The win was another training triumph for Grant Payne and Mark Purdon, who had their moments when I Can Doosit was patchy during a successful three-race, two-win Melbourne campaign in February. "I didn't expect to beat the Aussie horse, and my horse has never raced that well doing it tough," said Purdon. "It worked out well because Raydon took us right to the corner, but Let Me Thru kept on fighting."

Stylish Monarch went from early leader to second behind Sovereignty and then three-deep when Let Me Thru took over. "I had to use him a bit early and I was in two minds whether to come out when I couold have," said Ricky May. "He's going super."

Credit: Mike Grainger writing in HRWeekly 13Apr2011


YEAR: 2011

Let Me Thru(13) from Springbank Richard(inner), I Can Doosit(4) & Danny Cash(9)

The kindling stick form of Let Me Thru continued at Alexandra Park last Friday night. But instead of doing it in front, instead of running parked or sitting close with cover, Let Me Thru used blinding speed from the back.

He had one behind him with a lap to run and began the run home giving I Can Doosit an enormous start. Springbank Richard was back with him, but a place or two ahead. They set out after I Can Doosit, who had taken the lead off the tiring Annicka on the corner. "I thought we'd run into third or fourth," said driver Chris Lang jnr. "I didn't even ask him to go. What he did up the straight ... that's the best feeling I've had in harness racing. The more we ask him to do, the more he can do," he said.

Lang, who was fined $250 for not having Let Me Thru on the gate at dispatch, said he felt for Nathan Williamson and Springbank Richard after the horse was sent to the outside for causing a false start and then having to travel wide on the mobile for another lap. "That was tough for him," he said. Lang said he would like to say the draw doesn't matter for the Final, but added that it would play a part.

Williamson knows what it can mean. He went from barrier two to the outside of the gate, which cost him the prospect of a better position. "He was a bit keen on the gate," he said. "Who knows, that might have been better for him. I was held up and it cost me a bit of ground in the straight, but Let Me Thru came from behind me."

I Can Doosit is making pleasing progress at the right time and he's shaping as good as any of the chasing pack. "He didn't have it easy, and hit the wall halfway down the straight," said driver, Mark Purdon.

Danny Cash ran better but Master Bomber didn't and made the Final with a battling sixth. Trainer Gerard O'Reilly said a hoof problem and the change of location had given him one problem and then another.

Credit: Mike Grainger writing in HR Weekly 6Apr2011


YEAR: 2010


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


YEAR: 2011


Stylish Monarch turned the tables on Inter-Dominion hero I Can Doosit when the pair met again in last Saturday night's $80,000 Garry Thompson/ Fred Shaw NZ Trotting Championship at Addington.

Stylish Monarch blazed to the front from his wide draw in the 2600m Group 1 event, and in all fairness I Can Doosit had every chance to run him down after receiving an economical trip on the outer. But when it came to the crunch, I Can Doosit couldn't, falling short by half a head as the clock stopped at 3:16.4.

"It's developing into a pretty good rivalry," said Stylish Monarch's trainer Murray Tapper. "And there isn't much between them. I Can Doosit's probably got a bit more acceleration, but my horse is a touch more consistent. If you look at the big three trotting races over the last year - the Rowe Cup, the Dominion Handicap and the Inter-Dominion Final - he's won one of them and been placed in the other two; no other horse has been in the finish of all three. His consistency is unbelievable."

Saturday's victory gave Stylish Monarch back-to-back wins in the NZ Trotting Championship for Tapper and the gelding's owner Anne Patterson, having won the corresponding event in early April last year when he defeated Braig and I Can Doosit in the slightly quicker time of 3:15.9. "I think he could go 3:14 if you asked him to," Tapper said. "And I said to Ricky (May) afterwards that it looked like I Can Doosit had headed him up the straight, but he said our horse was still working up to top speed."

Once the field for Saturday night's event was finalised, Tapper compared it to a line-up of rugby players. "There was a lot of Division One players, but really only two or three All Blacks," he said. "And because I reckoned we had the best horse in it, I thought we should drive him like it; not necessarily lead, but get ahead of most of them. Any wins a good win, and any Group 1 win is special - so is this horse I think."

Stylish Monarch is set to return north now for the Rowe Cup on Friday week, an event he'll go into without another lead-up race but that doesn't worry his trainer. Following that, the Monarchy gelding will have a three to four-week spell as the first focus for the new season centres around defending his Dominion Handicap title in November.

Then the small-time Timaru trainer with a big-time horse will break new ground and head to Australia with his star trotter - something he would've never imagined himself doing before Stylish Monarch came along. "Prior to him, I never had a horse good enough to even take to the North Island, let alone across the Tasman," Tapper said. "But he loves travelling as much as I do, and you always know he's going to do his best. Ninety-nine percent of the time, he'll trot all the way too."

Credit: John Robinson writing in HRWeekly 28Apr2011


YEAR: 2012


Inter-Dominion champion I Can Doosit pretty much wrapped up the Horse Of The Year title with another dominating display in Saturday night's $80,000 NZ Trotting Championship at Addington. This was his eighth straight win dating back to November's Dominion when he made an uncharacteristic break and the sequence includes three Group Ones and two G2s, with two further G1s now seemingly at his mercy back in Auckland in coming weeks - the $200,000 Anzac Cup and $150,000 Rowe Cup.

With his 26th win from just 43 races, which includes five G1s in all, I Can Doosit is now also just $22,000 away from being New Zealand's latest millionaire trotter. In this respect he will join Lyell Creek, Take A Moment and One Over Kenny. So it is getting to a point where one has to ask 'what more can you say' and 'what's left to prove?'. The asnswer to the first question is a little disturbing because I Can Doosit is actually getting better all the time, now being much smoother in his gait.

The big Muscles Yankee gelding has developed tactical speed to compliment his endless staying powers and Mark Purdon used that to great advantage in the Trotting Championship. It was a race which promised to be a wonderful match-up with the remarkable Stig but in the end that clash proved a fizzer. Stig was not a shadow of his former self on this occasion and the writing may well be on the wall for the injury-plagued rising 10-year-old. Improvement is expected the Auckland way, but Paul Nairn will need to somehow find plenty. Instead it was left to Jaccka Jack to run the race of his life for second, and for Clover Don to pick up his third G1 placing.

Breeder-owner Ken Breckon, who has almost certainly wrapped up at least one of those titles for the season as well, is now coming under intense pressure from European interests to take I Can Doosit to the Elitlopp at the end of May, and while that is something he would love to do, logic or common sense would seem dictate it won't be happening for the time being. Taking on the best European trotters over a mile at the 1000m Solvalla track in Sweden at such short notice is a daunting prospect to say the least. Tremendous gate speed is critical when the guns are blazing at the Elitlopp and it is a task which has already proved well beyond Pride Of Petite, Lyell Creek and Sundon's Gift. As a gelding, I Can Doosit is not eligible for the Prix d'Amerique in Paris at the end of January. "I haven't even spoken to Mark about it yet, but with such a big and powerful stable to run, it's hard to imagine when and how he could get away," said Breckon. "Plus I know just how desperate he is to win the Dominion, the one G1 race in New Zealand to elude him," he added.

Purdon has a plan to spell I Can Doosit after the Rowe Cup and set him for the Dominion again, and then there is the likelihood of a new $300,000 race at Melton next February to replace the Inter-Dominions. The 6-year-old I Can Doosit should have won the Dominion in 2010, but after a tough run in record time he was just nutted by Stylish Monarch and a great drive from Ricky May. He was raging hot favourite for this season's event, but he made that rare mistake at the start, and he wasn't at his best that day either. Quite simply, I Can Doosit can win a lot more money by staying at home over the next 12 months, than tackling the best trotters in the world on their home turf.

So the answer to the latter question is a lot easier than finding more superlatives for I Can Doosit. But Breckon is not discounting the idea of taking I Can Doosit on to the world stage if at all possible at some point and he won't be lacking for any encouragement about a "trip away" from wife Karen. "There's some longer distance races on the European Grand Curcuit in our winter which would suit him nicely.

Credit: Frank Marrion writing in HRWeekly 12Apr2012

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