Harness - News

Purdon relishing move north ahead of Winter Cup

  • Thu, 28 Jun 2018
  • Garrick Knight
Nathan Purdon talks to Emma Anderson after piloting Scoob Operator to victory. Photo: Trish Dunell.

Nathan Purdon talks to Emma Anderson after piloting Scoob Operator to victory. Photo: Trish Dunell.

Nathan Purdon will be looking to continue on a promising start to his northern driving career in Friday night’s $20,000 Winter Cup at Alexandra Park.

Purdon, who moved to Auckland permanently at the start of the month, will pilot race favourite Classie Brigade in the handicap feature.

Nigel McGrath trains the top-level pacer, but he is temporarily in the care of Barry Purdon, for whom Nathan works.

It didn’t take the son of legendary horseman Mark Purdon long to announce himself on the northern driving scene, winning with Classie Brigade on June 8 and he followed that up with a score behind Scoob Operator last week.

He expects Classie Brigade to bounce back from a last start defeat in the Uncut Gems a fortnight ago, when he was outdone by Billy Badger.

“I think it just got to the bottom of him a bit; he had three trials in a row, travelled up here then had two races.

“He’s sat parked and they’ve gone 2.38, which was just a bit too much to ask after a season on the sidelines.

“He’s picked himself up since then and seems really bright.

“If he gets the right run this week you’d like to think he’ll be pretty hard to beat.”

Purdon will again drive Scoob Operator for co-worker Scott Phelan this week and says the only query is racing for a third week in a row.

“He just tried so hard last start, I hope it hasn’t taken too much out of him.

“If he goes as good as he did last week, he figures to run in the first two, I think.

“He’ll be hard to beat if he backs up again.”

Purdon is no stranger to travel, having been all over Australia in recent years, but this move to Auckland with brother Michael and girlfriend, Mikayla, is permanent.

“It’s been really good so far; Barry’s looked after us and he has a handy enough team around him for next season.

“In the next month to six weeks they’ll start stepping out and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Nathan and Michael have a small team to start off with, though that will slowly gather momentum.

And one of Australasia’s biggest owners is supporting them, too.

“Merv Butterworth is sending us an Art Major three-year-old from Southland that is unraced.

“It’s won three of four times off the place and he should do a good job.

“We’re expecting him to get here on Saturday.

“There’s also a rising three-year-old, Major Trojan, that hurt himself at the races last time in.

“He’s due to start fast-working and we are looking forward to him coming back as well.”

Major Trojan suffered a spiral fracture of a hind cannon bone when making his debut at Addington in February.