The Story Of Auckland The Atomic Reactor

  Champion is a word many in the
racing game use too often.
In reality, it should be reserved
for very few, those remarkably talented
equine athletes that break records,
take your breath away and defy logic.
    In recent years Australia’s open class superstar Blacks A Fake has rightly claimed membership in the club, and there might be a younger, more brash and truly remarkable
pacer in New Zealand about to stake
claim for a spot.
    This three-year-old’s name is Auckland Reactor, and believe me, wherever you live around the world, you are about to hear a whole lot more about him. Not since the days of Courage Under Fire more than 10 years ago (he won his first 24 starts as a two and three-year-old)
has a horse so captured racing’s attention in this part of the world. We can be a tough mob we racing people, you know, been there done that, seen it all before. Auckland Reactor could be about to change all that.
    Two weeks before this issue went to
press, it was announced that the horse
had been sold to a group of investors led by Ontario’s Peter Heffering and including fellow Canadians Dr. Mike Wilson
    Tom Kyron, Bill Loyens, Doug Millard, Irv Storfer and Americans Jerry Silva and Carol Beneke.
    The price to purchase from breeder
Tony Parker was a total of four million
dollars.

    This is a first. Since when does the
northern hemisphere racing industry
want to buy an elite horse from the southern hemisphere? Hasn’t it always been the other way?
    Mach Three must have been a great
three-year-old. I never had the pleasure
of seeing him live, but plenty of videos
adequately portray his amazing ability.
In Auckland Reactor he may have
sired one as good as himself, and dare I
say, perhaps better.
    Let me set the scene for you.
Auckland Reactor has so far raced
11 times for 11 wins. He is trained in
Christchurch in the South Island of New
Zealand, home of the world famous New
Zealand Cup, run on the second Tuesday of every November.
    His trainer, Mark Purdon, is an elite
horseman, coming from a line of elite
horsemen. Here is a guy who year in and
year out produces high class youngsters
and free for all pacers.
     He’s had stars at every level, including his, for want of a better phrase, “measuring stick” horse in Il Vicolo.
    When Mark decided to train on his
own in 1995 after being part of the hugely successful Team Purdon, which included his father, the legendary Roy Purdon, and his older brother Barry, he got the perfect start when Il Vicolo turned up.

  
Neale Donnelley

    An outstanding two-year-old, Il
Vicolo turned into a killing machine at
three. He went through his three-year-old year unbeaten, won three Derbys against all comers from Australia and New Zealand and then proceeded to go on and win not one, but two New Zealand Cups.
For Mark Purdon, this was the ultimate
gift to a trainer, and just to put
the icing on the cake, he owned half
of the horse who would win in excess of
$1.5 million and then be sold for stud
duties.
    On every level Mark Purdon could be
forgiven for declaring there would never
be another Il Vicolo.
Wrong!

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