Purdon starts northern campaign
By Michael Guerin
Champion trainer Mark Purdon appears to hold all the aces at Alexandra Park tonight but he admits he doesn’t know how most those cards will fall.
Purdon starts his annual northern summer assault at tonight’s meeting while partner Natalie Rasmussen is tearing up the Inter Dominions in Victoria with Cruz Bromac and Spankem.
Purdon will have the favourite in four races tonight, with the hottest certain to be champion filly Princess Tiffany, who returns in race three.
“Like any horse coming back she will be better for the run and that always makes them vulnerable but on class she should still win,” offers Purdon.
But things get a bit more complicated after that, with the All Stars having multiple runners in the other three races.
The most obvious appears to be the opening event where a race fit Jesse Duke clashes with last season’s leading juvenile Another Masterpiece.
“I think Jesse is the better chance because he is fit and I don’t think Another Masterpiece would want to be taking him on this early in his campaign.”
But the battle between top mares Dream About Me and Elle Mac in the Breeders Stakes may not be as obvious as it looks, even though Dream About Me finished third in the NZ Cup last start and is favourite for the Auckland Cup.
“I think Dream About Me deserves to be favourite on what she has done but I worked them together the other day and the way Elle Mac sprinted up the straight right along side her there might not be much in it.
“I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Elle Mac beat her.”
The standing start and racing luck could play the major role for not only Purdon’s trio but all the big names in the $30,000 Summer Cup.
The best performed horses like Jack’s Legend are off 20m over 2200m and while that doesn’t mean he can’t win it does make him vulnerable to the tempo of the race especially if there are no mid-race moves and a 55-second last 800m off the front.
Purdon says any of his trio Ashley Locaz, All U Need Is Faith or Sicario could win and the fact he has chosen to drive All U Need Is Faith over Sicario is not any guide to their chances.
“They are all good four-year-old who could win but the first thing is getting away safely and then who has the luck because I really can’t choose between them.”
Add in On The Cards, Mach Shard, Northview Hustler and rejuvenated veteran Lets Elope and the race looks a beauty.