Racing: Purdon predicts tough day

By Michael Guerin

Mark Purdon expects to lose more races than he wins. Photo / APN
Mark Purdon expects to lose more races than he wins. Photo / APN

The master finds himself in an unusual situation on Breeders Crown day tomorrow.

Because champion trainer Mark Purdon expects to lose more races than he wins. And he wouldn't be stunned if his five-strong team came away with only one victory.

While a group one win would rate as a successful day for almost any other trainer on the planet, this is after all a man who won seven races on New Zealand Cup Day two years ago and regularly dominates entire premier programmes.

Point in case, at the Jewels two months ago he won five of nine races.

However, that won't be repeated tomorrow.

The combination of leaving some of his best talent at home, stronger-than-usual Australian opposition headed by the powerful Emma Stewart stable and some bad barrier draws has Purdon hopeful, rather than confident.

His near guaranteed winner should be Our Waikiki Beach, who is $1.10 to win the 3-year-old male pacing final, where his only danger would be getting crossed early from barrier one.

But Purdon's only other favourite is Harness Jewels winner Partyon in the juvenile fillies' pace and while she may be the best horse in the race she faces the biggest task.

She has the outside of the front line with the connections of second favourite Miss Graceland already stating they are keen to lead from barrier four and stay there.

The latter is very good and if she makes Partyon work early then both could be softened up for Victoria's best filly Petacular to take advantage later. So Purdon has a decision to make early.

"There is no point going back but whether we can get across to lead is another matter," he told the Herald.

"She is well and will be improved by her win last week and if she leads she will be very hard to beat."

Pacing Major also faces a tricky draw in the A$280,000 juvenile boys' final and was only steady when second last week so will need to improve or hope hot favourite Tingara Beach gets crossed at the start to turn the race upside down early.

Harness Jewels winning trotter Custodian galloped in his final lead-up last Friday so Purdon is not only wary of that but of Redwood winner Illawong Byron in the juvenile trot.

"I think the second line will suit my horse but Illawong Byron is very good and he will be hard to beat."

Purdon realises My MacKenzie, probably only the fourth or fifth best 3-year-old filly in his stable, is racing for place money at best against Heavens Trend and Rocknroll Magic.

However, Kiwi trainer Paul Nairn could claim two finals tomorrow with Wilma's Mate and Conon Bridge both in perfect form for their 3-year-old trot finals, while the Auckland-owned pair of Our Regal Love and High Gait also have serious hopes.

Crowning glory

• The Australasia Breeders Crown has eight group one races at Melton tomorrow afternoon.

• New Zealand supplies five of the favourites.

• Our Waikiki Beach is the leading Kiwi hope.

- NZ Herald

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