Don't Stop Dreaming in dominant FFA win

By Jonny Turner

Don’t Stop Dreaming gave his army of backers a fright before speeding to a sensational win in the Group Three Junior Free-For-All on New Zealand Cup Day.

Usually a display of pacing perfection, the Mark and Nathan Purdon went roughly as the mobile left in the first feature event on New Zealand harness racing’s biggest day.

But under the cool and calm hands of the master himself, Mark Purdon, the brilliant three-year-old got his gait sorted before going on to an all-of-the-way win.

The wash-up in the Purdon camp suggested Don’t Stop Dreaming was going too fast for even the star three-year-old to handle.

“Dad said they were just going that fast when the gate left that he got a bit rough in his gait,” Nathan said.

“He is such a good pacer that I knew he wouldn’t do that for long. He is the sort of horse that will come back down pretty quickly, so I wasn’t worried too much.”

Purdon snr pitched some sweet sectionals in the middle stages before letting Don’t Stop Dreaming loose to run a 26.1sec closing 400 to win.

Though Don’t Stop Dreaming left a field with plenty of older, fringe open-class horses in his wake, he won’t be stepping up to race the New Zealand Cup horses anytime soon.

The Purdon camp has the New Zealand Derby firmly in their sights, and they can go into that Group One with Don’t Stop Dreaming having produced a scintillating display in his first attempt over the derby distance of 2600 in his Junior Free-For-All win.

“He will go to the Ian Dobson race at Addington next month before going straight into the derby,” Nathan said.

Cya Art ran the race of his life in his first start for Aussie trainer Jason Grimson.

The pacer took ground off Don’t Stop Dreaming in the run home after trailing him throughout.

Merlin was disappointing by his usual standards but far from disgraced in his third placing.

Though the three-year-old worked early, he sat in the running line for most of the Junior Free-For-All and peaked on his run early in the run home.

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