Don't Stop Dreaming sets off on Aussie mission
By Adam Hamilton
Mark Purdon has no qualms about throwing stable young gun Don’t Stop Dreaming into the big league.
Before then, Purdon will team-up with the four-year-old against some quality open-class opposition in Saturday night’s $50,000 Casey Classic (2240m) at Melton.
It’s a pipe-opener to tackling Victoria’s biggest and most famous race, the $450,000 Group 1 Hunter Cup (2760m) a week later.
Don’t Stop Dreaming is being flown from Auckland to Melbourne today (Wednesday).
Purdon won’t head across himself until Saturday morning to take the reins in the Casey Classic.
“I think he’s got the makings of being a really good open-class horse and when Akuta’s trip was ruled out, I was happy to change plans with this guy,” Purdon said.
“There are four or five really nice horses (in Australia) and then it falls away a bit, I’m sure Don’t Stop Dreaming will be competitive.
“Leap To Fame is obviously the standout, but I think Don’t Stop Dreaming will be up with that next group.
“I’m looking forward to getting across and driving at Melton again on the big nights. Also seeing where this horse measures up.”
Purdon said Don’t Stop Dreaming was over his hoof issues following his latest win at Alexandra Park on New Year’s Eve.
“He’s had some issues with his feet a few times,” Purdon said. “He actually bounced back pretty quickly and it didn’t take long to regain his fitness.
“We’ve had those two extra weeks at home getting ready from when we had planned to go to Melbourne.
“He’s ready to go this week and the run will top him off for the Hunter Cup.”
Purdon said the extent of Akuta’s tendon injury would be known late next week.
“That’s when he’ll be scanned,” he said. “The good news is, there seems to have been quite a bit of improvement over the past few days.
“We’re hoping it’s not as serious as we first feared it might be.”
Beyond the Hunter Cup, Don’t Stop Dreaming, who's 12 of 16 starts, will head to Sydney for the Chariots Of Fire at Menangle on March 2.
He will need to qualify through either the Hondo Grattan Stakes on February 10 or the Paleface Adios Stakes on February 24. Both races are at Menangle.