The best of the best
Who Mark Purdon rates his best Jewels chances
1: Turn It Up
2: Elle Mac
3: One Change
By Michael Guerin
This is the story the bookies don’t want to read.
Because the odds setters know there will be an avalanche of money for the All Stars runners at the Harness Jewels tomorrow and the bad news is champion trainer Mark Purdon couldn’t be happier with his team.
The All Stars have eight of the nine favourite for tomorrow’s $1,275,000 mega meeting at Addington tomorrow and as always they will beat the centre of the multi bets which are so popular on Jewels day.
With the Jewels the Grand Finals of the harness racing season the pecking order is well and truly established, hence the six pacing races tomorrow all having odds-on favourites. So punters look for more juicy return via the multis.
By comparison, the trotting races have just one odds-on chance in Enhance Your Calm and the two and four-year-old trots look more open.
But after a few setbacks late last week, when Oscar Bonavena just missed a Jewels start and then several of the All Stars horse reacted badly to a worming paste, Purdon couldn’t be happier going into tomorrow.
“The worming paste we just a reaction thing and not a big deal and the horses are all well over that,” said Purdon.
“The ones who raced last Friday (Turn It Up, Ashley Locaz, Elle Mac and Funatthebeach) weren’t treated with it while we took a lot of the other Jewels runners into Addington on Wednesday for their final fast work.
“I couldn’t fault any of them. It is getting late in the season and some horses get tired but I couldn’t be happier with where the team is at.”
Purdon think Elle Mac (mares) and Turn It Up (boys) will win their four-year-old pacing races but he is not as confident with Winterfell and King’s Landing in the trot.
“Winterfell is back to his best but the way Sundees Son won the two big races in Auckland if he behaves himself he might be too good for us, especially from the draws.”
The two-year-old pacing races also look the All Stars to dominate with One Change and Sweet On Me deserved favourites.
“The way the draws have worked out I think One Change will lead and that will make it really hard on (stablemate) Flying Even Bettor while Sweet On Me’s work on Wednesday was very good.
“She feels very strong at the moment and if anything tries to park her out I think she will crush them.”
But while the stable has $2.40 favourite Tailored Elegance in the juvenile trot Purdon warns she faces a big task.
“She is very professional and a lovely filly but there are some nice horses in there and a horse like Ultimate Stride might even be more talented that her just at the moment,” says Purdon.
The three-year-old raise the most interesting tactical battles for the All Stars, with none of their three favourites guaranteed the lead.
Princess Tiffany looks to be in a two-horse race with arch rival Belle Of Montana and Purdon is positively beaming about his filly.
“She is spot on, in a really good place but we know Belle Of Montana is a very good filly too.”
Enhance Your Calm has occasionally shown signs of growing pains and mental fragility this autumn but has been in the zone this week, boosting confidence he can overcome a second line draw, which may not be a disadvantage as the front line looks super fast. The best version of him would win.
And Purdon says some of his highest post-workout praise for Jesse Duke, who is the only group one winner in the three-year-old male pace.
“He worked very well on Wednesday so he is in the right place. I wouldn’t be surprised if Heisenberg held the lead but if he does then I’d be keen to stay parked,” he says.
“That could make it a tricky race but I am confident he (Jesse Duke) is in the right form to try that.”