Strong Purdon-Phelan team in at Alexandra Park tonight
By Michael Guerin
Punters should expect a winning lead-up to Cup week from trainers Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan at Alexandra Park tonight.
But champion trainer Purdon admits its not easy to nail down exactly which horse.
Purdon and Phelan are looking forward to a Cup week at Addington that won’t see them have a Cup runner but they will still have elite level pacers like Merlin (Junior F-F-A) and one of the favourites for the Sires’ Stakes Final in Cold Chisel.
“We have some very smart horses there so like always we are going to enjoy the week,” says Purdon.
While Cold Chisel must now be considered the stabke’s best juvenile they have at least two more who can win tonight.
The stable has three pacers in Race 2 tonight and Purdon opts for Escape Artist over last-start winner Better Knuckle Up.
“They are both start horses but Escape Artist was really good in an even better field last start,” said Purdon.
“The draw makes it slightly tricky but he has a bit more experience but they are both smart young horses.
We also have Benson Dude in there but it is tough coming up against some of these smart juveniles, especially over the mile.”
It is all-mile night at The Park and that should suit In Excess in Race 4 as he gets barrier 2 and showed good gate speed before running third to Better Knuckle Up last start, having earlier raced in the Young Guns series won by Cold Chisel.
“He should lead or be handy early and will be better for his last start so he will take beating.”
Purdon and Phelan have a big opinion of Duchess Megxit (R5, No.6), who won well on debut and paced a slick 55.2 second last 800m.
She finds herself well up in grade tonight but Purdon thinks she can handle that as she is a classics horse for next season.
“We thought about one of the big fillies’ races down south but we think the best thing for her is keeping her up here and looking after her,” says Purdon.
“But there is no doubting she has a good fillies motor.”
The team have both Artisan and Montana D J in the main pace tonight and while Purdon is happy with both he says so much will depend on the tactics of the race.
“Artisan was really good last start but we were a little disappointed by Montana D J’s last run but he has been better in his work since.
“A lot will depend there on who leads and how fast they go.