New Zealand's popular All Stars Racing stables are about to call it a day.
The training and driving couple of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen have elected to take extended leave from harness racing from the end of December and will disband their All Stars Racing establishment.
Purdon has indicated that he will retain his licence until early next year and head to Sydney with Spankem and Self Assured to contest the Miracle Mile at Menangle.
Purdon summed up the bold move by saying: "It's time for a break". He will leave the stable complex in the hands of the current All Stars foreman Hayden Cullen.
The couple are expected to take a year off from the grind of training and driving. Rasmussen, a former Queenslander, linked up with Purdon back in 2013 and became a formidable team and the well-known couple are now looking for a few quiet days in the coming months.
Purdon has trained the winners of a staggering $58million in New Zealand alone while he has won most of Australia's richest races multiple times.
It's the end of one of the greatest chapters in New Zealand harness racing history.
On the local front it was good to see the safe return of Tamworth reinswoman Sarah Rushbrook back to the track having her first round of competitive driving last week at Tamworth where she finished fourth behind the Michael Formosa trained Seelster Song in the opening event and a second behind her own pacer in Jackeroo Shannon.
Once again Rushbrook has shown the tough side of her persona, defying doctors who said she would be out of the game for 12 months after a race fall back in March at Inverell where she sustained a punctured lung, broken ribs and a broken leg.
Rushbrook also took in the Newcastle meeting last Monday with two drives that were not very rewarding but she has now swept the cob webs away of the past few months and a fresh beginning is heading her way.
In Australia, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and Club Menangle is doing their bit towards raising funds to help out with research. Every time the number four horse gets first ($800), second ($405) or third ($190), a donation will be triggered to the prostate cancer fundraiser from Menangle.