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Auckland Reactor

Auckland Reactor


Mach Three


Atomic Lass

Broodmare Sire:

Soky's Atom




November 3, 2004


New Zealand




A J Parker


Auckland Reactor Ltd.


Mark Purdon & Grant Payne (New Zealand)
Kelvin Harrison (USA)



Fastest Mile Rate:

At 3: 1:55.9
At 4: 1:53.5



Group One Wins

New Zealand Sires Stakes 3yo Final
New Zealand Trotting Derby
New Zealand Free For All
Auckland Trotting Cup
Noel J Taylor Memorial Mile
New Zealand Messenger Championship
4-Year-Old Emerald
  • Correct as at January 2, 2009

Auckland Reactor is a New Zealand standardbred racehorse bred by Dr. Tony & Anne Parker. Currently a 4-year-old, he has won 25 of his 33 starts. He has been crowned New Zealand Horse of the Year in the last two seasons. He was also given the nick name The Reactor Factor because most Trainers supposedly feared him.


3 year old season (2007–2008)

His best wins in 11 starts as a 3-year-old (all wins) were the NZ Sires Stakes' 3-Year-Old Championship and the New Zealand Derby. He also recorded the fastest last 800 metres of a race ever recorded in New Zealand of 54.0 seconds. These achievements saw him crowned New Zealand Horse of the Year. In early May, 2008, Auckland Reactor was purchased by an American syndicate for a reported $3.5 million, an unprecedented sum for a New Zealand pacer. Despite the sale, he still remains with his original trainers, Mark Purdon and Grant Payne. His final race as a 3-year-old was set to be the 3-Year-Old Emerald, at the Harness Jewels raceday at Cambridge at the end of May. However, he had to be scratched from that race with an injury concern.[1] That injury was expected to rule him out for the rest of 2008, including the New Zealand Trotting Cup in November.

4 year old season (2008–2009)

Auckland Reactor recovered from the injury better than expected, and returned to racing with a win at Ashburton in late October. Connections ruled out a run in the New Zealand Trotting Cup, where he probably would have been favourite, because of his hampered lead-up and lack of standing start ability. Instead, he won the Junior Free-For-All on the Cup undercard, before meeting many Cup starters, including the winner Changeover, in the New Zealand Free-For-All. In the biggest test of his career, he won the Free-For-All in record time, confirming his status as clearly New Zealand's best pacer. A planned clash against Australian champion Blacks A Fake in the Miracle Mile in Sydney was aborted due to the length of time it would take for the horse to return to New Zealand with quarantine issues.[2] Instead, the horse contested the Franklin Cup at Alexandra Park in Auckland, where he broke the track record for 3200m. His first start for 2009 was in the Waikato Flying Mile at Cambridge, which he won in a time of 1.53.5, equalling the New Zealand record. He returned to Cambridge the following week to win the Cambridge 4yo Classic, taking his record to 17 wins from as many starts.

Auckland Reactor returned to Cambridge for a third straight week to contest the 4yo Futurity Stakes from a standing start. His poor standing start manners proved to be costly. He galloped for approximately the first 100 metres from the race and was tailed off the rest of the field. He managed to catch the field and get a position outside the leader, but he did not have enough energy left in the home straight to run past All Tiger, and his unbeaten record ended at 17. The time of the race (0.8 seconds outside the track record) showed how good Auckland Reactor had to be to get as close to winning as he did.

People that saw the champion go down all said it was a shock. Although he lost he gained many more admirer's after the race. One person said it was like the Titanic. Everyone thought the horse was unsinkable (couldn't be beaten) then until the fateful night they were proven wrong.

Auckland Reactor came back to winning form straight away in the inaugural Summer Cup at Addington on January 31, and followed that up with a win in a minor free-for-all at Addington. He then contested the Auckland Cup, where he drew the outside barrier. After dropping to last at the start, he took the lead a lap from home and went on to win by 1 3/4 lengths, giving him his biggest win to date and taking his earnings past $1 million.

2009 Inter Dominion Championships

One week after his Auckland Cup win, Auckland Reactor travelled to the Gold Coast in Australia to contest the Inter Dominion. In his first-round heat, he settled midfield before being pushed back to second-last when driver Mark Purdon elected not to move forward. He made good ground in the straight, but was too far back to run down Karloo Mick and avoid his second career defeat. Mark Purdon admitted that he made an error by not moving forward in the race, and was subsequently handed a six-week driving suspension. Following this defeat, Auckland Reactor drifted as favourite for the series, and the winner of the last three Inder Dominion Championships Blacks A Fake firmed with the bookies.

With Tony Herlihy in the sulky, Auckland Reactor won his second heat impressively and set up the 'trans tasman challenge' for the final on 28 March 2009. With Blacks A Fake being beaten later in the night by Changeover, Auckland Reactor regained favouritism for the final; however, the gap between the two lessened when Auckland Reactor drew the outside of the second row, while Blacks A Fake drew the inside of the front row. Gavin Lang drove the horse in the final, after Tony Herlihy went back on a previous decision to relinquish the training of finalist Gotta Go Cullen in order to take the drive. After getting into the parked position outside Blacks A Fake within the first lap, Auckland Reactor was never comfortable in the running, and dropped out to finish 100 metres behind the winner, Mr Feelgood, in last place. The failure was mainly a result of the horse striking the sulky in the running, upsetting him and causing him to choke down.

4 year old features

Auckland Reactor's final targets for the season were the major 4 year-old races in New Zealand. He won the first of those races, the Noel J Taylor Memorial Mile at Alexandra Park on April 24, putting his unsuccessful Australian campaign behind him. He followed that win up with a victory in the New Zealand Messenger Championship at Alexandra Park; however, he was tiring over the final stages and his winning margin closed to a neck. His final target for the season was the 4-Year-Old Emerald at the Harness Jewels raceday at Ashburton where he was looking to make up for missing the 3 year old version of the race. After getting an easy lead, he sprinted home in an outstanding last 400m time of 25.4 seconds to win by 3 lengths. His time for the mile distance of 1:53.8 was just outside his New Zealand record; however, that record was bettered in two races on Harness Jewels day.


Auckland Reactor won his second New Zealand Harness Horse of the Year award for his 2008/2009 achievements, as well as the 4-Year Old Pacer and overall Pacer awards.

5 year old season (2009–2010)

New Zealand Cup campaign

Auckland Reactor's first target as a 5 year old was to be the New Zealand Trotting Cup on November 10. His first race in the lead-up to the Cup was at Addington on October 2, where he again missed away from the standing start. The lost ground at the start meant he tired to finish sixth after challenging for the lead around the final turn. His standing start manners did not improve in subsequent workouts, and the connections chose to abort his Cup campaign, making him one of the few champion New Zealand pacers to never contest the race.

Cup Week

Auckland Reactor again won the Junior Free-For-All on the Cup undercard. Like in 2008, he contested the New Zealand Free-For-All on the following Friday, where he ran fifth of six runners after being taken on in the lead.

Miracle Mile

After the New Zealand Free-For-All, Auckland Reactor was sent to Australia for the Miracle Mile at Menangle. After settling at the back of the field from his wide draw, he was unable to make sufficient ground off a fast-run race, and ended up finishing sixth behind New Zealand Cup winner Monkey King in an Australian record of 1:50.8.

North American Campaign

Auckland Reactor flew out to North America at the end of January 2010. He is now trained by Kelvin Harrison. His first-up race, at the Meadowlands on May 22, ended in a disappointing 6th of 7, although the overall time was a fast 1:47.3.[3] He improved at his second start when running fourth at Chester; however, his next start resulted in a last placing in a weaker grade at the same track, with trainer Harrison saying that the horse has not handled the hot weather in the US. It is likely that he will be aimed at major free-for-alls in North America in 2010 before likely being retired to stud, although a return to racing in Australia and New Zealand is possible.

Memorable Auckland Reactor quotes

'And the crowd has gone silent' Following his second in the Interdominion first round

'Come on the Reactor!' Adam Hamilton before his first run in Australia

'Come on Auckland Reactor' Aaron White as Auckland Reactor tries to win his 18th successive race

'And here comes Auckland Reactor' various Commentators in New Zealand and on US Debut

Reactor Factor

See also



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