By Adam Hamilton
IN the moment after Self Assured’s first Albion Park win a few weeks back, Mark Purdon said the pacer “could be a bit special.”
Another two wins down the track and the lightly-raced three-year-old has grabbed the tag as the most exciting pacer in Australasia.
You simply had to see his win in Saturday night’s Group 3 South-East Derby to believe.
Self Assured, having just his fifth start, came from the back row around the field to sit parked and was still good enough to rundown Australia’s best three-year-old, Lochinvar Art, albeit only by a whisker in the last stride.
Wait for this … Self Assured’s closing splits outside the leader were 53.4 and 26.1sec.
Quietly-spoken stand-in driver Kylie Rasmussen was of praise in her conservative way.
“He’s very good to be able to do that. He’s so inexperienced and still learning, too,” she said.
Self Assured’s 1min54.1sec mile rate for 2138m smashed the race record set by Duplicated last year.
It’s hard to critical of Lochinvar Art given the times he ran, but Self Assured simply went better, while the other All Stars’ runner, Jesse Duke, finished a close third after sitting one-one on Self Assured.
Self Assured will be favourite to extend his winning streak to six and land the first “major” of his fledgling career in next Saturday’s $100,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby.
Lochinvar Art and Jesse Duke will be there again.
But it could be another stablemate, megsastar filly Our Princess Tiffany, who is Self Assured’s main threat next week.
Purdon said a dominant Queensland Oaks win would see the filly progress to the Derby and Our Princess Tiffany was definitely dominant last night.
Kylie Rasmussen took the daughter of Art Major to the front from gate four and won as she liked by 12m in a race record 1min54.7sec for the 2138m. Not much slower than Self Assured went.
Purdon expects to be back driving for the Derby next week, but wasn’t clear on which of the stable trio he would drive.
Luke McCarthy is expected to stay on Jesse Duke with Purdon and Kylie Rasmussen driving one of Self Assured or Our Princess Tiffany.