A unique way of deciding who will drive who

By Michael Guerin

Mark Purdon may have lost before he has won heading into tomorrow night’s $200,000 Woodlands Derby at Alexandra Park.

Purdon is back from Sydney for a few days, where he will return to partner Alta Orlando in the Miracle Mile on Saturday night, but heads to Alexandra Park tomorrow night.

He and partner Natalie Rasmussen have four starters in the Derby but two at the head of the market, perennial Group One winner One Change and Oaks winner Amazing Dream.

And the couple devised a unique way of deciding who would drive who: they drew names out of a pot in the tea room this week.

The winner, at least according to the market, was Rasmussen who will partner One Change, leaving Purdon on the superstar filly.

As much as the stable love Amazing Dream, after she drew barrier seven she is rated clearly their second best chance at around $6 with the TAB but likely to be longer on the tote.

“The draws are a huge thing for him and not so much for her,” admits Purdon.

“From barrier one Nat has options with One Change, whereas I will probably have to find some luck somewhere or at least be conservative early.

“So he is the clear best chance for us, although as everybody knows Copy That will be hard to beat.”

The stable find themselves in the unusual position of not having the favourite in the Breckon Farms Young Guns Final, with It’s All About Faith only second favourite to Krug, again because of barrier draws.

“Krug is a really good young horse and from barrier three he is going to be hard to catch.

“I am sure our big fella will have improved by his second last week but it is so hard to come wide and win juvenile races at this level.” Purdon was happy with both Oscar Bonavena and Winterfell after their trial at Ashburton on Tuesday and the pair will trial again before racing at Addington in two weeks.

Looking to Menangle he is happy to be reunited with Alta Orlando this weekend and expects Our Princess Tiffany to be hard to beat in her mares race where once again she clashes with Belle Of Montana.

But one horse who won’t be heading to Menangle is Smooth Deal, who was first emergency for the NSW Derby but is already back home in Canterbury.

“We didn’t go well enough in his prelude last week so we have brought him home and he will race at Addington next week and be set for the Derby here at Addington.”

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