Otago owners chasing dreams

Chase Auckland. Photo: ODT files
Chase Auckland. Photo: ODT files
The roller-coaster ride 3yr-old Chase Auckland has taken his owners on could hit a new peak after tonight's Northern Derby (2700m) at Alexandra Park.

The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained star will line up as a short favourite in the $250,000 feature in which he starts from barrier 6.

Chase Auckland last week suffered his first career defeat of eight starts at the hands of his stablemate and rival tonight, Sicario.

But with the thrills the horse has already given his owners, you will not hear them complaining.

That is the case for the horse's Otago-based owners, John and Sheree Jarvis, of Dunedin, and Bill Davison and his grandson, Jordan Taukamo, of Oamaru. They are riding a wave of unexpected success after taking shares in syndicate co-ordinated by giant stallion operation Alabar.

Shares in the syndicate that race Chase Auckland were sold for $3500 when he and three other horses the group owns were yearlings.

John and Sheree Jarvis joined after having good success with the Addington-based Met syndicate with horses Expresso Martini, Delightful Jack and Brads Kenny.

Chase Auckland has raised the bar even higher.

"I have been following horses since I was at school and I never really thought I would have a share in a syndicate," John Jarvis said.

"I used to dream of those horses, the Young Quinns and all those ones, and the lucky buggers owning them."

The cost of racing a star 3yr-old might surprise some harness racing fans. It is less than $200 per month for the upkeep of Chase Auckland and the three other horses the syndicate owns.

"I think if people realised how cheap it is and they could have a lot of fun and meet a lot of people.

"It is only a small share but it is a lot of fun.

"I don't think there is enough publicity about these kind of syndicates."

Davison has raced good horses before and the way Chase Auckland is going he should end up at the top of his list.

Grenfell Robyn, Montecrengle and The Best Love are among the horses he has raced.

Whether Chase Auckland can give his owners another thrill tonight depends on three factors. Firstly, he must turn the tables on his stablemate, Sicario.

Chase Auckland should be the fitter for that run, but so should Sicario, who had not raced since August.

The 3yr-old must also steer better around the Alexandra Park bends - which seems a given because he is trained by two masters - and Chase Auckland must prove he can stay in his first attempt racing past 2200m.

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