Champion Kiwi horseman Mark Purdon is set to switch out of holiday-mode to drive mighty mare Amazing Dream in the new $250,000 Group 1 The Rising Sun.
Purdon’s son, Nathan, recently took over training the four-year-old for her US-based owners Marc Hanover and Gordon Banks and confirmed Amazing Dream would go straight into Saturday week’s The Rising Sun without a lead-up run.
With Anthony Butt committed to Copy That in The Rising Sun, Purdon had to find another driver.
“Dad (Mark) is in Queensland on holidays and I’ll see if I can twist his arm to stay a little longer, but put the driving gear on,” he said.
Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, an unstoppable force under the All Stars banner for many years, shocked the harness racing world late last year when they announced they would be taking an indefinite break from the sport.
But they have continued to drive in big races on occasions.
It will be interesting to see whether The Rising Sun will be a one-off or if Purdon and/or Rasmussen do any other driving during the next month of the huge TAB Constellations Carnival.
Amazing Dream had a low-key trial at Albion Park last Friday and was expected to race this week, but plans have changed.
“She’ll trial at Albion Park (Tuesday), so she won’t race this weekend. She’ll go straight into the big one,” Nathan Purdon said.
“She’s good a big foundation of fitness and she’s where she needs to be.
“I’m big on confidence and I want her full of it when she races. She’s come through some strong races in NZ and had no luck in the Harness Jewels.
“I wanted her hitting the line well so she felt good in the trial last Friday and she’ll have a lot stronger trial this week.”
Under the unique preferential barrier draw conditions of The Rising Sun, Amazing Dream is likely to start from barrier two if she is the only mare in the field.
It seems stunning Redcliffe Derby winner Krug will be the only three-year-old, so he’ll get the pole and Amazing Dream would be next to him.
“If that’s the case, it’ll be a huge advantage over the big dangers like Copy That and Expensive Ego. It’s only a fairly short race (2138m) and Albion Park is a track where it’s a huge help being right up on the speed,” Purdon said.
Originally published asPurdon to make surprise driving appearance
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