Purdon has faith in Belle Of Montana
By Jonny Turner
Clevedon trainer Barry Purdon is not taking a backwards step ahead Belle Of Montana’s clash with Princess Tiffany in the Nevele R Fillies Series Final at Addington on Friday night.
The two classy fillies dominate betting markets ahead of the $140,000 feature and their second row draws have ensured the talented pair are set for an intriguing battle.
The epic encounter also puts Purdon in a head to head clash with his younger brother Mark, who trains Princess Tiffany in partnership in Natalie Rasmussen.
And while Purdon has a healthy respect for his rival camp, he was not in a hurry to agree with popular opinion that Princess Tiffany was better than Belle Of Montana.
“I would like to think we are as good [as Princess Tiffany],” he said.
“She is a class act, we all know that and it won’t be easy.”
“But, you just have to have faith in your own horse and I think she is good enough.”
“It is like any race you go in, we are all the same as trainers, the horse has got to get the right run.”
Which filly has a draw advantage will not be known until after the start of Friday night’s feature.
Princess Tiffany’s stocks could shoot skyward if she lands the trail behind Wainui Creek from barrier one on the second row.
Belle Of Montana could get the opportunity to get in front of Princess Tiffany if Wainui Creek is crossed and the start and she is shuffled back.
It appeared, Rasmussen, Princess Tiffany’s driver, was expecting there to be a strong possibility of that scenario unfolding.
She was quoted as describing her filly’s draw as exactly the number she did not want.
Purdon was not investing in any pre-race theories ahead of Friday night’s race.
He preferred to leave it in the capable hands of his driver, Zachary Butcher.
“I guess it is not the best draw, but Zac will work it out I am sure.”
Belle Of Montana will start for the first time since returning from a winning raid on the Victoria Oaks last month.
Purdon said the three-year-old had recovered well from the race and her trip home to Auckland and on to Christchurch.
“She arrived back last week in the early hours of Thursday morning.”
“It was a long trip for her, but she handled it well and she seems in pretty good shape.”
Purdon also trains one of the fillies out to beat the two favourites in Havtime.
“She is a lovely filly and she is extremely tough.”
“I don’t like to even say that she is a second-rate filly for us and I am sure she will go good.”
Like her main rival, Princess Tiffany will be out to back up an impressive Australian Oaks win.
The three-year-old will start for second time after her jaw dropping win in the New South Wales Oaks at Menangle in early March.
Princess Tiffany looked ready to show that kind of form again with an effortless Ashburton trial win late last month.