Mark heads into the Roy Purdon Memorial at Auckland with mixed feelings on Friday but  is not so apprehensive about the chances of top trotter OSCAR BONAVENA. In fact he thinks he is right back to his best.

“He feels really good like he did when trotting at his best. So I am optimistic he can make his mark this week (Anzac Cup G2). Muscle Mountain is the one to beat but if we can get the right run Oscar has a good chance.”

Mark’s concern over the Roy Purdon Memorial where his stable carries the family load, Barry and Scott Phelan bypassing the race, is not the race itself but one coming up-the Auckland Cup.

“I will just be happy to get them through the race to be honest. It is nearing the end of their prep with the Cup to come and  they will go good races but if they come out of the race well that is my main concern.”

Mark still thinks “all things being equal” DON’T STOP DREAMING  will carry too many guns for SELF ASSURED it would not surprise him if the veteran beat him home in the right circumstances.

“He is in good form,Self Assured, and a lot to like about his last run. I think he could be in front of Darci at the finish if the race panned out a certain way but everything equal maybe not”

Possibly a danger is Australian Better Eclipse,who looked very unlucky two weeks ago. However this is his first standing  start.

The other stable runner LOOK TO DA STARS is harder to get a line on. He galloped badly early in his leadup in Cambridge and has a tricky gate to negotiate in his first essay right handed. There is no question his best would pose a threat to the two favourites and he does have expert trotting horseman Mark in the bike.

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