Natalie Rasmussen reflects on Blacks a Fake’s incredible talent
Natalie Rasmussen admits only now is she starting to fully appreciate the absolute greatness of Blacks A Fake.
Together the pair were almost an unstoppable force in harness in the 2000’s across a career which stretched a staggering eight years, netted 72 wins from 105 starts, banked almost $4.6 million and snared a record-breaking four Inter Dominion titles.
Blacks A Fake isn’t just the greatest pacer Queensland has produced, he may well be the greatest horse full stop.
Saturday night’s $250,000 feature race at Albion Park named in his honour is testament to that.
“The longer he’s been retired and more time I get to reflect and look at other horses, the more you realise how great he was,” Rasmussen said.
“While he was racing it was always head down and bum up, hoping he’s OK and thinking what’s next.”
Natalie Rasmussen and Blacks A Fake during a race at Albion Park.Source:News Limited
Rasmussen, who now lives in Christchurch, has been visiting “home” with partner Mark Purdon and couldn’t wait to check-in on the now 21-year-old and his loyal sidekick and travelling companion “Simon” at Delaney’s Creek, near Caboolture.
“I hadn’t been back to see him for 18 months because of Covid, but it’s so good to see him looking as well as he is and still alongside his great mate, Simon,” Rasmussen said.
“He shares a 20-acre paddock with Simon and another horse (Major Cam) and that’s part of the big farm where Mum (Cheryl) looks after a lot of old horses. She’s a real animal-lover, she’s great like that.”
Blacks A Fake had that increasingly rare mix of amazing talent, but the endurance and longevity to come back and race until he was a 10-year-old and still be competitive at the top level until he retired.
He contested six Inter Dominion finals, for his four wins and finished second in the other two, the last of them in Auckland as a 10-year-old behind another champion in Imthemightyquinn.
He’s the only horse to have run in six Inter Dominion finals, which is as much a credit to Rasmussen’s training and nursing as it is “Blacky’s” resilience.
“His longevity was amazing. I look back on that time out he had as a three-year-old as the break that set him up for the future … it wasn’t until he was a late four-year-old and early five-year-old he started racing in the big league,” Rasmussen said.
Rasmussen with Blacks A Fake in 2010.Source:News Limited
Blacks A Fake is the last horse to win back-to-back Queensland Winter Cups (in 2006/07) and he added a third win in 2009. They later renamed the race after him.
“It’s a great honour. He’s Queensland born and bred and was trained there as well,” she said.
Rasmussen, who with Purdon is taking a break from training and driving, will be watching from NZ on Saturday night as King Of Swing tries to become the first horse to win the race back-to-back since Blacks A Fake.
“Mark and I have properly put the feet-up for the past six weeks or so and it’s been fun watching from the other side of the fence,” she said.
Can we expect to see Rasmussen and Purdon, who dominated Australasian harness racing together under the “All Stars” banner, back on the track?
“The honest answer is we are undecided,” she said. “We’re taking the rest of this year off, we’ve bought a house on wheels to travel around in and the top of the north island (of NZ) is the first destination.
“As we travel we’ll decide what level, when or even if we get back into it at all.”
Adam Hamilton is a paid contributor on harness racing for News Corp
Originally published asRasmussen: ‘I didn’t realise how special he was’
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