Cruz Bromac wins the 2019 NZ Trotting Cup. Race Photo / Image
Champion coach Mark Purdon found himself in an unusual position heading to Tuesday’s $ 540,000 New Zealand Cup in Addington – but he said it was true.
Purdon, along with training partner Natalie Rasmussen, have coached five of the last six New Zealand Cup winners and even that year they were beaten by Arden Rooney, the horse they used to train.
Even more clockwork than those who have Cup winners have Cup favorites, with superstars like Lazarus earning $ 1.40 when he won his second Cup in 2017.
But on Tuesday, the All Stars stable had to settle for having second and third favorites in Self Assured and Spankem, and Purdon said they both deserved to be behind Copy That north in the market.
“I don’t think this is one of those years that we can go into the race as confident, obviously not as confident as other years,” said Purdon, who will drive Self Assured.
“We had three chances to win (Ashley Locaz is the other) but none was better than Copy That.
“He races like our horses so he deserves to be a favorite.”
Copy That and Self Assured have a possible advantage drawn to the front line at 3200m stand start while Spankem starts from the second line.
That, along with Self Assured’s stellar run of the season, made him the best home opportunity, but his Achilles heel has been on display for all to see.
Self Assured missed the start more often than started this campaign safe and Purdon admits he’s running out of ideas.
“We’ve spent everything we know to make him go away,” said the Hall of Famer.
“So now it’s up to him. I would rate him 50-50 to stay away, okay and if he does, I think he can lead and win.
“But if he doesn’t then I think he will lose his chance of winning.”
The Self Assured riddle for the punter is that the richest career win came when he streaked and took the lead throughout the Auckland Cup last December.
If the passenger knows Self Assured will pack that courtesy in his gear bag, you can be sure he’s got a fair fight with Copy That. But if he misses it not only makes him miss the chance but also gives Copy That a chance to lead less as most of the other people on the front lines will likely give him the role.
That’s why on Cup Eve, Copy That was a TAB favorite that toned down $ 2.80 and Self Assured has slipped to $ 3.
What: The biggest day of harness racing in New Zealand.
When: Tuesday, first race at 11:55 a.m.
Where: Addington, Christchurch.
Who: New Zealand’s top pacers and trotters and 12,500 trackside fans.