Self Assured's statement

By Adam Hamilton

IN a scary warning to rivals, Mark Purdon thinks his young stable star Self Assured is only now getting back to his very best.

As brave and huge as Self Assured was in his two recent Victorian defeats, Purdon felt he didn’t quite have the four-year-old right at the top of his game.

But gelding gave him that special feeling again winning the Group 2 Hondo Grattan at Menangle last night.

“He felt terrific last night. That’s him back to his best,” Purdon said.

“As good as he was in Victoria, I just didn’t think he quite felt himself, especially in the 4YO Bonanza. He didn’t travel as well as he usually does.

“But it was different last night. He felt as good as we’ve had him.”

Self Assured came off the gate well, but didn’t have the brilliance to match buzz local Balraj, who blasted to the front in a scorchinmg 25.8sec opening quarter.

Classy Victorian Demon Delight came across from a wide draw to momentarily sit outside the leader and give Self Assured the one-one, but Purdon immediately moved to sit parked at the 1000m.

Self Assured had Balraj, who was unbeaten in eight previous NSW runs, beaten before the home bend and Purdon nursed him as long as possible down the straight to beat a brave Demon Delight by 1.2m in a 1min50.3sec mile. The last quarter was 26.5sec.

Last year’s Australian 3YO of the Year, Max Delight, caught the eye with a long-sustained run from near the rear to hold-on for third.

Self Assured’s win turned around an exasperating start to the night for Purdon, who had stewards scratch Stylish Memphis from a NSW Oaks “warm-up” race.

“We thought she only had to be at the track an hour before the race, but they said it was 90 minutes,” Purdon said. “They give you a 15-minute leeway and we missed that by two minutes. They said there’s no discretion after that. It was disappointing.”

Purdon said Stylish Memphis would now run at Menangle next Saturday along with Chase Auckland and Smooth Deal.

“There will be a race for the filly next week, even if she’s got to run outside of her class a bit,” he said.

“Chase Auckland will run in the free-for-all and Smooth Deal will go around as well.

“We’ll also have Princess Tiffany race at Addington and if she wins, that gets her a ticket into the Ladyship Mile here (Sydney).”

Self Assured goes straight to the Chariots Of Fire on February 22.

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