THE Purdon brothers led the New Zealand charge on the Australasian Breeders Crown at Ballarat harness races on Saturday.
Mark Purdon landed a double with two-year-old filly Linda Lovegrace ($1.40 favourite) and two-year-old colt Follow The Stars ($1.20 favourite) on semi-final night.
Barry Purdon then produced boom three-year-old Our Sky Major ($1.50 favourite) stake a claim for a group 1 title at Melton on Sunday.
However, just as it was in the opening game of the rugby union Bledisloe Cup between the Kiwis and Aussie also on Saturday night, the Breeders Crown semi-finals finished in a draw between the Trans Tasman rivals.
While it was 12-all for the Wallabies and All Blacks, it was four-all at Bray Raceway.
Cran Dalgety produced the fourth NZ winner of the night, with two-year-old filly Katy Perry ($2.80) getting the money.
The Australians struck with Andy Gath-trained two-year-old gelding Burnaholeinmypocket ($16.50), Queensland three-year-old filly Just Cala ($3.60 favourite), David Aiken-trained three-year-old filly Quick Draft ($12.40) and three-year-old gelding Major Crocker ($3.60) from the Bolinda stable of Vince Vallelonga.
The NZ influence on finals day will go much further than the quartet of winners, with Kept Under Wraps (2yo colt), Cyclone Kate (2yo filly), My Field Marshall (2yo colt) and Big Lucy (2yo filly) also advancing.
Ballarat district stables will also have a presence at Melton with the Emma Stewart-trained Tuscan Breeze making the cut with a sixth in her semi-final and Michael Stanley’s Soho Tokyo fourth to qualify for another group 1 appearance.
While the expansive NSW team of Belinda McCarthy did not get a win, it will have plenty of opportunities to make amends in the finals with Smooth Showgirl (2yo filly), Spicy Stride (3yo filly), Birdy Mach (2yo colt), Nike Franco (3yo filly), Bamako Mali (2yo filly), Lettucerockthem (3yo gelding) and Bling It On (32yo colt) all qualifying.
HOMETOWN wins came in the last two events on the 10-race card.
Group 1-winning mare Beauty Secret ($2.70) had her 20th career success and took her earnings past $330,000 in the Breeders Crown Graduate Mares Free-For-All, 1710m.
Trained by Emma Stewart, she rated 1:54.5 in leading all the way.
Sir Dasher Dee ($2.70) gained an inside run to land the money for Ross Creek trainer Ron Jewell in the Pet Rock Breeders Crown 4yo/older pace, 1710m.