Nathan was hopeful. Mark was doubtful. 

Now neither are optimistic.

That concerns any plans to campaign in Brisbane this winter where on paper there seemed ideal opportunities for some of the more lightly raced stable stars.

And it’s hard to pass up the money on offer. $A150,000 for the Queensland Derby and the Oaks; $400,000 for the Blacks a Fake and $A200,000 for the Sunshine Sprint among the carrot holders.It is tempting and Nathan, the Group 1 specialist on Brisbane tracks, had been eyeing up some of the right sorts for an overdue trip across the ditch.

But such plans are unlikely to attract the likes of the lightly raced Don’t Stop Dreaming;, Self Assured or Akuta; the filly Fortify etc, after all.

“It doesn’t look like it’s going to happen” Mark said at the weekend.

“It seems everywhere we’ve turned something has come up against it. Its as if we are not meant to be there this year”

Many had been looking forward to a return of the famous colours to Australian tracks where they have not featured since the arrival of Covid in 2020.It may happen in 2023 all right but probably not in June and July.

Nathan thought the relatively light racing assignments of Don’t Stop Dreaming and Akuta in particular were in his favour.

“They have been well looked after.Don’t Stop Dreaming  is probably sounder than he has ever been and at his peak after the Sires Stakes.” he said leading into the Auckland carnival.

Mark had earlier thought Self Assured would be the best open class chance on such a trip.

“But Jean (Feiss) is not that keen, looking further ahead and he’s been up a while.  I am not sure Akuta is just ideally suited by such a trip at this stage”

He didn’t feel taking any travel risks with Don’t Stop Dreaming in a split season was the best option either. And Fortify is headed for the spelling paddock.

And so while there is still time for things to change- a direct flight out is in early June- both Purdons now seem ready to throw in the towel on a Brisbane trip.

In two trips as a trainer to Queensland, Nathan has won three Group Ones- the first with Ohoka Punter as trainer and driver in the 2016 Blacks a Fake, his first G1 success in either role.Then with  Amazing Dream in 2021 he won both the Black’s a Fake with Blair Orange in the bike, and the 3 and 4yo new feature The Rising Sun both worth $200,000. He also won the Queen of the Pacific and the Kilmore Cup in Victoria with the superstar mare now winning features in the US.

Mark and Natalie’s last Queensland Derby win was with Self Assured in an unbeaten four start Brisbane campaign in 2019. It is a tribute to all concerned that that wonderful little pacer is still racing sound and strong 4 years later.

But if Mark and Nathan have just about given away the 2023 winter it might not be for long.

“Hopefully we will be back over there later in the year” Mark says

PIC:Nathan-eager to return to Australia




Pin It on Pinterest