Auckland Reactor, who rejoined Purdon's stable yesterday after an unsuccessful three-race campaign in North America, has been resyndicated by Auckland bloodstock agent John Curtin, with 60% being bought by new owners, revaluing the horse between $2m and $2.5m.

And all the new owners, from Australia and Canada, are keen to try the horse on the track again, buoyed by advice from leading Canterbury vet Bill Bishop that Auckland Reactor can return to his brilliant best.

Bishop said judging by what he found when operating on the 6-year-old son of Mach Three at the Canterbury Equine Clinic last month, he could see no reason why Purdon should not press ahead and ready the Reactor for the Auckland Cup and Inter-dominions.

The procedure, exactly the same one responsible for the dramatic return to form of Stunin Cullen, was two-fold and involved cutting out a crescent shaped section, about 3cm by 1cm, from the edge of his soft palate to reduce obstruction to the air flow.

Incisions were also made under his neck to cut the strap muscles which play a part in displacing the soft palate.

"We do hundreds of these operations and have consistently good results where the animals return to the level they were racing at before," Bishop said. "I reckon we have a success rate of about 90%."

Bishop said he discovered Auckland Reactor had a long soft palate and all the findings pointed to intermittent displacement being responsible for his inconsistent form since he pulled ferociously, cut off his airway and choked down in the Interdominion Final on the Gold Coast in March, 2009.

Bishop and Australian vet David Searle, of the Illawarra Equine Clinic, both made the same diagnosis last December that Auckland Reactor had a soft palate problem after he ran a disappointing fifth in the Miracle Mile, when he failed to show any of his trademark zip, but still paced a 1:51.3 mile.

"Before he left for the States we found an ulcer on the end of his soft palate and you can only get that if its dislocating regularly," Bishop said.

Reactor's three disappointing runs in North America showed he was still being troubled by it, he said.

The new ownership of Auckland Reactor sees five of the original shareholders - Curtin, the Stallion Station, plus Canadians Doug Millard and Fred Brayford, and American Jerry Silva - joined by Sydney newcomers Albert Pizzuto and Guy Vitale.

Curtin said all were keen to see the Reactor return to his best.

"People forget how good he was but if he can come back as successfully as Stunin Cullen has from the same operation, we could really see something.

"The horse needs another chance. It's been a wasted 12 months but he's still very young (six) and hasn't had many starts (34 starts, 25 wins and $1,484,293)."

Curtin said the new owners had pulled the pin on a proposal to serve a limited number of mares before he resumed training.

"We want to give Mark the chance to concentrate on training the horse."

Purdon, who described Auckland Reactor as by far the best horse he has trained, said he would need to start stepping up his workload by mid-December.

"Ideally I'd like to give him two races before the Auckland Cup (March 11). Knowing the horse I think he'd be pretty ready after two runs."

Purdon said it would not be until he trialled Auckland Reactor that he would know if the horse had been affected by his North American campaign.

"He's that great a horse he'll do anything you want at home and it won't be until he's put under stress and is asked for 100 percent that I'll know if any damage has been done."

But Auckland Reactor was looking brilliant and he was confident he could get him back on top.

Curtin said many people had forgotten just how special Auckland Reactor was.

"Not many people know it but he still holds six New Zealand records. We all know how great Monkey King is - he's won $3 million - but he doesn't have one New Zealand record."

Beaten only once in his first 21 starts, Auckland Reactor achieved pin-up status in 2007- 2009, clocking unheard-of sectionals and dispatching his rivals with seeming ease. Everywhere he went he drew crowds and headlines, owner Tony Parker fending off numerous offers until at a record $4 million the money was simply too much to turn down.

"He beat every good horse in New Zealand fair and square," said Curtin who still hopes Auckland Reactor will get back to his absolute peak so he could have another crack at North America.

"Kelvin Harrison [American trainer] said he was the fastest horse he'd ever sat behind and we all know what Mark thinks of him."

Purdon: "It's very exciting having him back in the barn."

His first major mission will be the 2011 Interdominion Championships in Christchurch in March and April.

by BARRY LICHTER (Courtesy of the SUNDAY STAR-TIMES)