Amazing Dream's amazing story
By Adam Hamilton
YOU could not have scripted a better result for the first chapter of Australia’s most exciting new Group 1 race.
Father-and-son Mark and Nathan Purdon combine with a champion mare in Amazing who smashed through the $1 million in stakemoney and silenced her doubters with victory in the inaugural $250,000 Group 1 The Rising Sun (2138m) at Albion Park.
And there are the layers.
The win inked Nathan Purdon’s relocation to Australia as a trainer in his own right and it just so happened to be at the track where he scored his previous biggest win, when he trained and drove Ohoka Punter to upset Hectorjayjay in the 2016 Blacks A Fake.
Mark Purdon answered an SOS from Nathan to drive Amazing Dream when the mare’s new owners, US high-rollers Marc Hanover and Gordon Banks, decided they definitely wanted her to run in The Rising Sun.
And Amazing Dream, who appeared somewhat in the wilderness after a stunning couple of years at the top, made the most of a perfect trail behind the leader, Krug, to zip up the sprint lane and beat a gallant Copy That in what was really a Kiwi quinella.
You could see the sheer joy on Mark Purdon’s face after the race, more for Nathan and Amazing Dream than himself.
“I’m so thrilled for Nathan. You always need a breakthrough win or a star when you’re starting out like he is, let alone in another country, and he’s got that now,” he said.
“She just got the perfect run. Thankfully it’s probably the best she’s ever got off the gate and we were able to drop in behind Krug. I looked over at the finish and saw Copy That, but I thought I’d won it.
“It’s so great for the US owners as well, they’ve put a lot of money in to game and deserve this.
“And it’s great for the mare herself, too. She’s been at the top for a long time. She’s won a Norther Derby and Auckland Cup and now this. She’s a really special mare.”
Nathan Purdon added: “It’s extra special winning it with Dad in the bike.
“The pressure was on me getting a mare as good as she’s been in NZ, I felt it, but she did the job.
“I always thought it would be hard to beat that Blacks A Fake win with Ohoka Punter a few years ago, but this is really special.”
Amazing Dream will back-up in the $100,000 Group 1 Golden Girl at Albion Park next Saturday night and then the $250,000 Group 1 Blacks A Fake the week after.
Mark Purdon is booked to fly home Monday, meaning Nathan will likely have to find a new driver. Anthony Butt and Blair Orange the frontrunners.
Butt drove a stunning race on Copy That and was entitled to feel stiff he didn’t win.
He launched Ray Green’s four-year-old from an outside back row draw to sit parked, grabbed the one-one on Expensive Ego and looked the winner when he peeled three-wide at the top of the straight, only to have Amazing Dream snatched a head win along the sprint lane.
Expensive Ego wasn’t suited when the lead time was so slow and had to come around early and sit parked. He kept rallying, but was probably beaten for speed more than strength into third spot, less than two metres away.
It’s hard to assess Krug’s run as he appeared to get his chance after a slow lead time and 30.2sec first quarter, but he was taking on older horses and Expensive Ego did “look him in the eye” through a 57.2sec split from the 1200-400m.
That said, Krug didn’t look as sharp as he did winning the Redcliffe Derby two weeks ago.
Copy That will back-up in the Group 1 Sunshine Sprint next week and Expensive Ego is likely to go there, too.
Cran Dalgety has the option of backing-up Krug for the South-East Derby ahead of the Group 1 Queensland Derby a week later.