Star Of Montana is drawn to advantage and is ready to run a big race for Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan. Photo: Trish Dunell
Harness racing’s most powerful surname is set to dominant the richest two-year-old event of the season at Addington on Friday night.
With a four-pronged attack between them, brothers Barry and Mark Purdon (with Natalie Rasmussen) hold all the cards in the PGG Wrightson NZ Yearling Sales Open Final for the baby pacing boys
The All Stars contingent comprises the ever-consistent Another Masterpiece and the brilliant Jesse Duke while Clevedon-based Barry will be represented by the consistent duo Star Of Montana and Supreme Dominator.
In recent years it has been Mark who has set the tone in the $200,000 event with the last five winners hailing from his Rolleston base and it will be he who again is expected to take honours, especially with bookmakers.
Yet while on paper Jesse Duke would look the logical option, Purdon wasn’t quite as sure there was a clear definition between the stable’s two runners.
“I would say there is not a lot between them on their current form,” he said.
“Jesse Duke had a soft win at Addington last time but I wasn’t happy with him, he then trialed fairly, but I was a lot happier with him at the trials mid-week.”
Purdon will continue his association with Jesse Duke, who starts off the second line, while Tim Williams, who has driven Another Masterpiece throughout the season, has retained the drive again this week.
While confident of a big showing from his pair, brother Barry was pretty frank in assessment of taking on the young stock of his younger brother this week with his two charges, Star Of Montana and Supreme Dominator.
“You have to be right on the top of your game to get the better of them,” he said.
“That often comes down to getting the right amount of luck and the right run.”
In saying that, Purdon had high hopes, particularly for Star Of Montana, who has come up with the one barrier - a key result considering the gate-speed he possesses.
“He’s a really nice type with a good will to win, I think from that draw he will get a good chance.”
Supreme Dominator, however, will be relying on a little luck from the second line with a hot speed required to bring him into calculations.
“Luckily for him they don’t often run $200,000 races slowly.”