Millwood Nike doubters seem to be growing in numbers heading into the Nevele R Final but don’t count raceday driver Mark Purdon among them.

“She seems to be as good as ever. All the reports are good.Yes it is tougher from the draw with a few new challenges but she has no problems”

The doubts were partly fuelled when Millwood Niki and Don’t Stop Dreaming finished well back at the Addington trials on Wednesday but there was good reason for that.

“The trial day didn’t quite fit in with what we were doing and I said to Olivia it would suit our horses better to take it easier than we might have done otherwise.They were fine,did what we wanted”

Millwood Nike’s 15 winning streak has caught the imagination of racegoers much like Auckland Reactor’s 18 strong winning streak did more than a decade ago. Mark doesn’t see why though he does have respect for some rivals.

Northerners rate Mantra Blue as the one Millwood Nike has to beat even though both are on the second line.But Mark is more wary of Ardiebytheseaside.

“A smart filly and she has the gate where she can get a soft run while the second line ones will have to work at some point.So I lean to her as the hardest to beat”

Two races earlier Mark parades Don’t Stop Dreaming in the Junior Free for All. Once again there is a tough draw and another northerner,co-trained by Mark’s brother Barry, in Merlin is fancied to be too strong though also drawn wide also. Don’t Stop Dreaming has had the edge on Merlin in recent clashes and he looked trained to the minute at the trials.Another of interest to Mark is Cya Art formerly owned by a Telfer stable syndicate but sold to clients of Jason Grimson.

“I am not sure how long Jason has had him but he will add some interest”

The question some will be asking around the $160,000 Sires Stakes Final, a classic the Purdon stables have dominated over many years, is Mark taking the drive on We Walk By Faith owned by Dennis and Mark Dunford and bought in Australia. Mark talks down the choice and also makes a rather surprising pick among the three stable entries.

“Its really just the way its worked out. Blair will drive Vessem aand since Olivia has done so well with Chase a Dream we have decided to leave her on. ”

Mark drove Vessem at the trials with a gear change and was pleased with the run

“He has had some hard runs lately and  just wanted to give him a bit of confidence and I felt that”

But he opts for Chase a Dream among the three.

“Tricky draw but he has gone on from each race and has reached the stage he might be the won of ours to beat”

There is continuing confidence in Don’t Stop Dreaming in the Junior Free for All as well.

“We may have to go back from there but I am confident he is in a good place”

That “In a good place” is as close to a tip as you can expect from the great horseman





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