By Josh Smith – Harness News Desk
Multiple Group-placed pacer On The Cards may be the highest rated horse at Alexandra Park on Thursday by some margin, but trainer Barry Purdon believes he will still need to be on his game to overcome his 45m handicap.
Purdon has been pleased with On The Cards’ two runner-up workout performances in the lead-up to Thursday and said he should be able to account for his three rivals in the Welcome Back Fans Of The Park – We Missed You Handicap Pace (2200m).
“He ran second last Friday at Pukekohe, he went quite well,” Purdon said. “They ran home in 26 and a bit.
“He has trained on well through the week and he worked nicely this (Tuesday) morning. He should go pretty close.
“45m behind is fair enough for him. He has over a 100 rating and it is only 2200m so it will even everything up pretty well, but he will need to do everything right.”
If he performs up to expectations on Thursday, Purdon said On The Cards would unlikely be seen back at the track until the new season.
“If he wins he probably won’t get another start until the start of next season.
“That is fair enough, he will be well over the ratings of the other horses, so you have just got to accept that is the way it is.
“He probably won’t resume until the middle of August, after this race.”
While the son of Bettor’s Delight has placed at Group level on five occasions, he has yet to taste victory at that level, and Purdon is hoping to change that in the coming season.
“He has been a good horse to us,” he said. “He made the Inter Dominion Final and he has been pretty consistent all year.
“We will just take it as it comes.”
On The Cards will be joined by stablemates Major Jellis and Marathon Man at ‘The Park’ on Thursday and Purdon is expecting a bold showing from both geldings.
Major Jellis resumed with a third-placing at Alexandra Park a fortnight ago and Purdon expects to see plenty of improvement when he contests the Breckon Farms Mobile Pace (2200m).
“He has taken a lot out of that run. He may have been a wee bit short. He just had the one trial and it was a bit of a soft affair.
“We gave him a bit of a run here on Saturday and he worked really nice. He has got a good draw (4), so he should be a little bit better than he was last time.”
Stablemate Marathon Man will make his debut in the Alabar Mobile Pace (2200m) and Purdon is cautiously optimistic heading into the race.
The son of Sweet Lou dead-heated with fellow debutant and race rival Hot And Treacherous at the Pukekohe workouts last week and Purdon took plenty of confidence from the run.
“He went pretty well in his trial,” Purdon said. “Unfortunately he has drawn eight, which is not easy in any race.
“He is only having his first start, so it might not be that easy for him. Whatever he does he will be a bit better for anyway, but he should still go well.”