Atomic Red sets 3YO record in NSW Derby Heat

J Scott Latest News


By Michael Court

The “Purdon Express” rolled on during heats of the NSW Pacers Derby at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night, February 18, with the champion New Zealand trainer’s All Stars stable winning two of the three qualifying heats.

Atomic Red wins in a 1:54.4 rate (2400m) in the Second NSW Derby Heat from Astride and Ultimate Machete. (Photo courtesy of NSWHRC).

While the defeat of Ultimate Machete appeared to burst that bubble for Purdon, who admitted his Bettors Delight youngster was beaten a long way from home, Vincent and Motu Meteor both scored strong wins and will give Purdon a hat-trick of hopes in the final with Ultimate Machete still qualifying despite a fading third.

Still it was the win of Atomic Red which had everybody talking as the Steve Turnbull-trained and Amanda Turnbull-driven son of Rocknroll Hanover led all the way over the 2400m to score a slashing win in a track record time of 2:50.6.

Taken straight to the front from gate three Atomic Red kept his rivals off the bit and chasing for the whole journey with a final mile in 1:54.4 to win by 2.3m from Astride with Ultimate Machete another three metres back a tiring third.

That incredible run knocked two-tenths of a second off Zee Dana’s track record run set at Menangle just 12 months ago.

While Purdon qualified three runners for the Derby, the night was also a triumph for the country stables.

Steve Turnbull qualified two runners, Atomic Red and Conviction for next weekend’s $200,000 final.

Bernie Hewitt qualified Pretty Hot, Brad Hewitt got Our Triple Play through to the big one.

Russell Jack’s Warden Express will also be there next Saturday night, as will Wilberforce trainer David Brown’s Hes My Mate.