Purdon still dreaming of Miracle Mile success

By Adam Hamilton

Champion trainer Mark Purdon has put the disappointment of the Chariots Of Fire behind him and expects young star Don't Stop Dreaming to run a huge race in the Miracle Mile. 

By his exciting and lofty standards, Don't Stop Dreaming was disappointing when only sixth as a commanding $1.80 favourite in last Saturday night's Chariots Of Fire.

“I’m just forgetting about the run, to be honest,” Mark Purdon said, “I expected more from him. The race wasn’t run to suit, but he still didn’t run to his best.

“I haven’t been able to fault him since. We took bloods from to be safe, but he seems bright and his work has been terrific.”

Purdon admits the wide draw (he will start from gate six) is a hurdle, but quickly added he “hasn’t given up hope” of winning on Saturday night.

“No, definitely not. But we’re going to need everything to fall into place, especially from the draw,” he said.

“We’ve got a horse who is good enough and I think it helps to have Leap To Fame and even Frankie Ferocious drawn outside us.

“We’ve got the chance to drive him cold and use his speed, but that means we’re in the hands of others to set a fast pace so we’ve got a chance to finish it off strongly and hopefully be right in the finish."

Kiwis raiders have won 15 of the 56 Miracle Miles, with Purdon and his older brother, Barry, training seven of those.

Only the host state, NSW, has produced more winners of Australasia’s premier speed test with 18.

The pandemic halted the influx of Kiwi raiders, but it’s fitting Mark and Barry Purdon mark the “return of the Kiwis” with a quarter of the field between on Saturday night.

Mark co-trains Don't Stop Dreaming with his son, Nathan. Mark will also do the driving.

Barry also co-trains these days with Scott Phelan and their hopes rest with surprise packet Sooner The Bettor.

Sooner The Bettor booked his Miracle Mile spot when he made the most of a good draw and lovely run to finish second in last Saturday night’s Group 1 Chariots Of Fire, while Don’t Stop Dreaming's sixth placing meant he needed the “wildcard” to get a run this week.

Despite Sooner The Bettor drawing better (he will start from barrier four), Don't Stop Dreaming is still considered by far the better chance.

That’s because it was only five weeks ago when he ran a slashing second to Australia’s pin-up pacer Leap To Fame in the Group 1 Hunter Cup at Melton.

So it was a shock when he only beat four runners home last Saturday.

Latest markets have Don't Stop Dreaming $10 and Sooner The Bettor $31. The Miracle Mile goes at 11.45pm NZT on Saturday night. 

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