Vessem (NZ) Outstays Rivals in Powerful Kindergarten Victory

11 April 2023

Vessem (NZ) (Vincent) showed incredible staying power in his empathic win in the $41,000 Group Two Macca Lodge Kindergarten Stakes (1609m) at Wyndham on Thursday.

The NZB Standardbred graduate worked harder than all of his rivals in the running of the time-honoured feature, but despite enjoying softer trips none of them could run him down in his powerful victory for trainers Mark and Nathan Purdon and driver Kirstin Green.

Vessem (NZ) Takes the Win in the $41,000 Group Two
Macca Lodge Kindergarten Stakes (1609m).
Photo: HRNZ

Vessem was purchased by the All Stars Racing Stables for $30,000 when he was offered by breeder-vendor Hazel Van Opzeeland at the 2022 National Yearling Sale at Christchurch.

Rain and plummeting temperatures already meant the Kindergarten Stakes would be a tough test for Thursday’s field of youngsters.

But when forced to face the breeze throughout, Vessem had every reason to flinch in the home straight.

But the gelding dug deep under Green’s urgings to hold out the late bid of his fellow NZB Standardbred graduate and stablemate Major Hot (NZ) (Art Major) and driver Olivia Thornley.

While forced to do it tough, Green was impressed by Vessem’s outstanding racing manners which allowed him to relax in the parked position and show his class late in the race.

“He was quite happy – he caught me by surprise with how laid back he was,” Green said.

“He got quite keen behind the gate and I thought he would pop across to the top quite easily, but he just relaxed a little bit too soon.”

“The track was probably a bit better one off the rail, so we weren’t worried about sitting parked.”

“You know Mark and Nathan’s horses are extremely fit, so you don’t have to worry too much.”

Major Hot charged out of the pack to get within a neck of Vessem at the finish in an excellent second placing.

After leading throughout, Sodoyahavtime (NZ) (Art Major) fought on gamely to round out a trifecta of NZB Standardbred graduates.

The Mark and Nathan Purdon trained quinella continued an incredible record in the Kindergarten Stakes by the All Stars Stable with NZB Standardbred graduates.

Following NZB Standardbred’s inception in 2019, graduates have been eligible for the two-year-old feature over the past four years.

And in that time, the All Stars Stable have won the Kindergarten Stakes four times, each with NZB Standardbred graduates.