Interdoms 2020

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All Stars principals Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen will review their plans to support the 2020 Inter Dominions in New South Wales after what they considered a ‘disturbing’ incident at the Newcastle meeting last Friday. Three horses trained by Craig Cross at Cobbitty were arbitrarily stood down from participating in the Newcastle Mile after arriving only minutes after the two hour deadline for being on course for a Group One event. 

The circumstances surrounding that decision are of great concern when considered in context of  the 2020 Series. The Cross team seemed a victim of circumstances.. A tree fallen across the road near Penrith had disrupted traffic around Sydney causing massive delays. On receiving a text from the Stewards at 2.37pm that there could be holdups the Cross team was on the road by 2.50pm for a journey that normally takes about two and a half hours.But with long delays they arrived just after the 7pm deadline for the Group One horses entered on the night. That was not good enough for the NSWHR stewards on course.  

“It seems a very harsh decision to us and a red flag for our Interdominion plans”, Mark said.

“As the series is in New South Wales this year and a lot of visiting trainers domicile their horses at Menangle or thereabouts there will be two rounds of heats held at provincial tracks one being Newcastle and the other Bathurst.The distance to each of these tracks is approximately two hours and forty five minutes by car with no hold ups. Horses on board add a further forty five minutes to the travelling time,meaning a round trip would take seven hours, presuming there are no hold ups, road works, accidents etc. 

At that  time of year, as we know, the summers can be extreme. Given the distance between meetings there is potential for hold ups and if the New South Wales stewards are going to be so unreasonable and scratch your horse if you are a few minutes late, as with the Cross team at Newcastle, it would be a major concern.”  Mark added

“Another concern  for the stable is horse welfare from  the amount of summer travel required The horses are expected to race three times in eight days plus travel on two occasions. Seven hours by float or truck under those conditions is brutal. If the official’s rulings are going to be so inflexible that  no reasonable discretion was exercised, and if it was our stables that was affected by an unforeseen event we would find ourselves out of an Interdominion series. “

This would be an unacceptable result for us, our owners and the betting public. Natalie and I are serious about reviewing the situation in light of the Cross event at Newcastle. A lot of planning, time, money and effort goes into getting these horses from New Zealand to New South Wales to compete not just by ourselves but owners and staff as well. 

We do not want to see it all go for nothing because of decisions like this being made by New South Wales stewards.

 Mark Purdon

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