Mark Purdon and Grant Payne might have won the Listed $20,000 Cambridge 3yo Trotting Stakes with Stent at Cambridge Raceway tonight (Thursday) but May 17 wasn't all red roses and celebration for the Rolleston-based harness racing duo.
Earlier in the day the Purdon and Grant Payne trained Hands Christian had to be scratched from the $150,000 Emerald 4yo (entires and geldings) Final on Harness Jewels day due to a severe tendon injury.
He opened the $2.20 favourite. Gold Ace, Terror To Love and Mustang Mach now look set to fight out favouritism.
"Ivan Bridge (veterinarian) told us the tendon injury will require advanced surgery. There's a small hole in the tendon. It means he will also miss the New Zealand Cup. It's a shame because he was in scintilating form throughout the summer and autumn," Purdon said.
He said the Christian Cullen gelding will stay in the North Island under the care of Bridge, who will operate on him using an advanced blood and plasma procedure.
"It's a really big blow for the owners - Dennis and Mark Dunford because he looked competitive in the Jewels and was also a strong Cup contender."
THE DAY GOT BETTER. . .
But Purdon and Payne's day brightened up at about 9.15 tonight when Dream Vacation 3-year-old gelding Stent won the Trotting Stakes.
It was his fourth win in 14 starts and with form-line of 1-1-2-2 in his last four starts you wonder why 8,000 of 14,000 Pick 6 punters opted not to put the $2 favourite in their bets.
Driver Colin De Filippi was left parked early with his toughest opponent and second favourite Lotalov (David Butt) on his back.
But when De Filippi got him to the Stent was always travelling too well. They sprinted their last quarter in 28.9 and final 800m 58.4. Winner's time for the 2200m mobile: 2:45.61 (2:01.2).
Lotalov and Cyclone U Bolt (Todd Macfarlane) were second and third, a length and 3-1/4 lengths away.
Stent opened up paying $6.50 to win the Ruby Trot - behind stablemate Escapee ($1.50) and Lotalov ($5)
Both Stent and New Zealand record holder Escapee are owned by Trevor Casey. The 51-year-old Christchurch businessman come owner-breeder could be in for a nice little quinella come Harness Jewels day - Saturday June 2.
BETTOR COVER LOVER DOES IT AGAIN:
Bettor Cover Lover notched up her 13th win from 21 starts when winning the 3-7 Win Pace tonight.
It was a sure sign that she is going to be very tough to beat in the 4yo Diamond for pacing mares on Jewels day.
She opened up paying $1.40 to win that Final. Tonight, from her 30m handicap she paid $1.50.