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Don’t bother asking Mark Purdon why group one stars Princess Tiffany and Jesse Duke flopped so badly at the start of their Breeders Crown campaigns.
Because the champion trainer admits he doesn’t know. And he will be as interested as anybody to see how they bounce back in the semi-finals of the rich Victorian series at Bendigo on Saturday.
Both Princess Tiffany and Jesse Duke were were beaten as short-priced favourites in their heats of the Breeders Crown in Victoria late last week, Princess Tiffany unable show any acceleration as a $1.04 chance after having the perfect trip.
“She should have won by three or four lengths so she was very disappointing,” says Purdon.
“Her work before the race had been really good and her blood report since doesn’t show any problems.
“So we have no excuses. The only thing we can put it down to is the very wet track.
“But she will need to go better this week.”
Princess Tiffany, who has won three Oaks and is the defending Breeders Crown champion, has drawn the second line in a very strong semi final and while she has the luxury of only needing to finish in the first half of the field to make the final, that hardly helps punters.
Both horses will again be driven by Luke McCarthy, with Purdon staying home then going across to train the pair for their finals next week.
Jesse Duke only battled to the line when well-beaten fourth in his heat last Friday and has draw the outside of the front line in his semi final on Saturday night which contains all three of last week’s heat winners.
“He was disappointing too and didn’t have the wet track as an excuse so we went to see better from him this week too.” The other Kiwi pacers in the ABC have had mixed luck in the draws, with Best Western facing a tricky marble in the Princess Tiffany heat.
But juvenile pacers Perfect Stride (three front line) and Zeuss Bromac have drawn well, the latter starting from one on the second line but behind a horse who should give him a great trail into the race.
While the pacers will try and earn their finals spots this Saturday, the three New Zealand-trained trotters in the Crown have straight heats into the final at Maryborough today.
And trainer Phil Williamson believes to can win two of them.
Williamson couldn’t be happier with Redwood winner Ultimate Stride heading into his juvenile boys trot heat and he would only need to behave and produce his best to win while the Oamaru trainer is confident placing Liberty Stride on the unruly will aid her in her three-year-old fillies heat.
“I trailed her on Sunday and she really pleased me,” says Williamson.
“She should follow them out more relaxed from the unruly and the reason she has galloped the last start two starts was because she didn’t know what to do when the pressure went on early and tried to race them.
“So I think she will be fine this week.”
The other Kiwi in the series Kratos would do well to run a place in his three-year-old boys trot heat as he is up against Derby-winning star Majestuoso and runner-up All Cashed Up.