Purdon to drive Self Assured
By Adam Hamilton
MARK Purdon will return to the sulky aboard the sport’s most exciting pacer Self Assured for Saturday night’s $100,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby.
Sidelined for two weeks with an eye infection, the champion horseman said he would return from his Canterbury stables to Brisbane on Wednesday and would be fine to drive this week.
“The eye is about 85 per cent right, so I’ll definitely be OK for this week,” he said. “It’s been good to come back home and rest it as much as possible. That’s helped a lot.”
Purdon confirmed he would three runners in the Derby with superstar filly Our Princess Tiffany joining Self Assured and Jesse Duke.
“I’ll drive Self Assured. Kylie (Rasmussen) will stick with Tiffany and I want Luke (McCarthy) on Jesse Duke if he’s available,” he said.
“It’s not often we run our fillies against the boys, but this filly is up to it. If she didn’t have a setback, we’d have run her against the boys in the NZ Derby and I think he’d at least run second in that.
“She’s so strong and keeps reeling-off those quick times when she’s on the speed.
“She did that (Queensland Oaks) really easily the other night and I think she’s back to that terrific NSW Oaks form.”
Self Assured was so stunningly impressive winning last Saturday night’s Group 3 South-East Derby he will be favourite from any draw this week, but Purdon believes Our Princess Tiffany is good enough to test and maybe even beat him.
“If she draws to make the lead like she did the other, she would take a heck of as lot of running down, even by Self Assured,” he said.
“It was quite freakish what he (Self Assured) did the other night, running home in those times, a 26.1sec last quarter, when he outside the leader.”
The barrier draw for the Queensland Derby and Saturday night’s other feature, the Group 1 Blacks A Fake, will be done at 11.30am (NZ time) tomorrow (Tuesday).