Time to get serious

By Michael Guerin

It is time for New Zealand’s strongest stable to get serious again.

So expect a sea of blue winning colours at Addington tonight and Ashburton on Monday as champion trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen start their countdown to Cup week.

While the stable has already won Cup lead-ups with Thefixer, Dream About Me and Cruz Bromac they haven’t unleashed many of their lower grade and age group stars so far this season. But that changes this weekend.

Tonight’s Addington meeting sees the return of high-class three-year-olds Jesse Duke and War Dan Delight in the Sires’ Stakes heat while plenty more serious age group performers return at Ashburton on Monday.

Jesse Duke was arguably the most talented juvenile pacer in the country last season but had a few tricks and Purdon warns he could be vulnerable tonight.

“We know how good he is but he has only had one trial before this so will improve and does have a wide draw,” says Purdon.

“So maybe War Dan Delight is a better chance this week.”

With the stable aiming to have five New Zealand Cup contenders in a few weeks they are still sorting out their pecking order and therefore who will eventually drive them all.

But Purdon says Dream About Me has emerged as their best winning hope at this stage.

“She has been really good winning her last two and is very sound at the moment so I would rate her just ahead of Cruz Bromac and Ultimate Machete.

“But I wasn’t disappointed by Ultimate Machete at Methven and I think he will keep improving so Ashburton will tell us a lot.”

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