By Adam Hamiton
MARK Purdon has plenty of thinking to do.
Emerging star Self Assured is the best horse in Saturday night’s Group 1 Ballarat Cup, but he’s drawn the trickiest barrier – inside the back row (gate eight).
He’s already drifted from $2.50 opening price to $2.60 with the Aussie TAB.
Self Assured is one of two runners Purdon and Rasmussen have in their quest for a fifth successive Ballarat Cup win. Smolda won in 2016 &17, Heaven Rocks in 2018 and Thefixer last year.
Purdon will drive Self Assured with Rasmussen aboard last-start brilliant Cambridge winner Chase Auckland (gate five, $5).
Purdon’s big decision is whether to stay on the inside and risk being pocketed, or snag right back at the start and give away a huge head start to his rivals.
The other Kiwi raider, dual Auckland Inter Dominion heat winner AG’s White Socks, is drawn to use his gate speed and possibly lead from gate four. He’s firmed from $5 to $4.60.
Australia’s top trainer Emma Stewart has four of the 12 runners – Tam Major (gate one, $15), The Storm Inside (two, $6), Demon Delight (six, $18) and Phoenix Prince (nine, $13) – as well as the emergency, Somewhere Secret (gate three, $71).
“It’s great to have such a strong hand in our hometown Cup and all of them are at the top of their game,” Stewart said. “Put a line through The Storm Inside’s Bendigo Cup run. He’s raring to go again, and Phoenix Prince is flying.”
Tim Butt’s former Miracle Mile winner My Field Marshal is a surprise Ballarat Cup runner after WA Cup plans were shelved because of ongoing plane issues. He’s a $21 shot from a horror outside back row draw (13).
BALLARAT CUP DRAW
- Tam Major $15
- The Storm Inside $6
- Somewhere Secret (emerg, $71)
- AG’s White Socks $4.60
- Chase Auckland $5
- Demon Delight $18
- Idealsomemagic $101
- Self Assured $2.60
- Phoenix Prince $13
- Code Bailey $11
- Our Uncle Sam $21
- Rackemup Tigerpie $151
- My Field Marshal $21