The boss is back in town
By Michael Guerin
The boss is back and that usually only means one thing: you can confidently take the short odds for Ultimate Sniper in tonight’s $250,000 Woodlands Derby at Alexandra Park.
The star three-year-old pacer lost his unbeaten record in the Derby prelude last Friday when, after trailing, he hung in and paced roughly on the final bend, losing two lengths on eventual winner Jesse Duke.
You can expect neither of those things — trailing or pacing roughly — to happen again tonight.
Champion trainer Mark Purdon wasn’t in Auckland last week, he was busy putting the winning polish on his Miracle Mile night team in Sydney but he has been back this week and hands on with the Derby favourite.
It is not that Purdon’s staff don’t do a great job when the boss is absent, after all they have won plenty of races in his absence including two last Friday, but Purdon is still Purdon and he picks up the smallest details others might miss.
“I think he has a slight issue hanging from last week which we can fix for this week,” says Purdon.
“I have put a Murphy Blind on him with a small hole in it to make him concentrate better.
“I am confident he will be better and from that draw he will probably be in front. So he is clearly the one to beat.”
Ultimate Sniper has looked a touch freakish this season and as good as stablemate Jesse Duke it is hard to see him beating him again. Another stablemate Another Masterpiece was scratched yesterday with an elevated temperature.
Those looking for place and multis value should check out Bettorstartdreaming, who has the gate speed to find the markers early and follow close to the favourite which is the golden pathway to placing in major Alexandra Park saying events.
Purdon has every reason to expect his heroics of last Saturday to be repeated tonight, with Smooth Deal looking a little too strong for his rivals in the $100,000 Breckon Farms Young Guns Final although Sweet On Me is going to have to overcome a tricky draw in the fillies final but she oozes class.
But he has lost his big gun out of the City Of Auckland Free-For-All with Ultimate Machete’s huge frame finally giving up on him, with the multiple group one winner suffering suspensory damage which threatens his career.
With him out of the race speedsters Star Galleria and Jack’s Legend become the two to beat, with the draw suggesting the former is the better bet.