Master trainer Mark Purdon looks a cracking chance of notching up his third straight New Zealand Derby success after his quartet all drew favourably in Friday’s $175,000 Group One feature at Addington.
“Last week the majority of the team drew wide or second-line, so the draws for this week were a pleasant surprise,” enthused Purdon, who admits that none of his four can be ruled out from the barrier draw.
The Purdon/Rasmussen quartet are: Messini (1), Aldo Rossi (2), Isaiah (4), and Alleluia (5).
“They have all worked on well since last week, so I think all four of them have at least a First4 chance under the right circumstances,” said Purdon.
When asked how he thinks the race to pan out, Purdon said that he expects Isaiah to be the early leader, however he is predicting mid-race pressure from Locharburn.
“I don’t think Messini, Quick As A Trick, or Aldo Rossi, will have the gate speed to hold him out, so I suspect that Nat (Rasmussen) will be pushing the go button early,” advised Purdon. “If that’s the case and she decides to hold up, it will bring Messini (Blair Orange) right into the race as he should settle in the trail,” he added.
Purdon also warns not to underestimate Aldo Rossi (Sam Ottley), who worked very well on Wednesday, while he is expecting a much improved performance from Alleluia (Mark Purdon), who was disappointing in last week’s Vero Flying Stakes.
“His bloods came back fine and he has worked on good since, so I don’t know quite what to make of last week.”
“I’ve added the sliding blind to his gear this week to hopefully sharpen him up, as I just felt he was a bit half hearted about things last week,” he added.
“At his best he will be right in it as he is very fast, but I think Isaiah has to be the pick of our four. I thought he was absolutely super last week and he has drawn to be in it for a long way.”
The fly in the ointment for the Purdon/Rasmussen team is favourite Locharburn, who is likely to go the attack mid-race, while Great Northern Derby winner Tiger Tara will be looking for luck after landing the awkward one on the second line barrier.
Meanwhile, Purdon is hopeful rather than confident with superstar mare Adore Me, who has been forced to start in a discretionary handicap after the Superstars Championship was scrapped due to lack of no nominations.
“She is pretty sensible so I am hoping she will step well from the back mark, but it is not going to be easy to give Border Control (stablemate) a 30 metre head-start and beat him,” he admits.
Purdon and Rasmussen also have a superb team on the undercard; however Purdon leans towards Paramount Queen and Raesawinner as the best of them.
“Paramount Queen looks well placed and really should be winning, while Raesawinner is improving all of the time and has really surprised me of late,” he concluded.
By Mitchell Robertson