Thursday, 5 July 2012
A slow track for Flemington has given trainer Aaron Purcell reason for optimism as he chases feature wins at two venues on Saturday.
Streaky Fella will take aim in the $100,000 Banjo Paterson Final (2600m) at Flemington while Purcell has import Dhaafer engaged in the $100,000 Kevin Lafferty Hurdle (3600m) at his home track of Warrnambool.
Dhaafer is one of five runners Purcell has entered for the Warrnambool meeting and the trainer is desperate for the fixture to go ahead with the track rated a heavy (10) on Thursday.
"I was talking to someone on Tuesday about the weather forecast being fine for the week but we've had a bit of rain each day. I went from being super confident (about the meeting going ahead) to fairly confident," the trainer said.
The Lafferty Hurdle was among the races called off at Warrnambool last Sunday due to the weather.
Two extra jumps races were added to Sandown on Wednesday but that meeting also became a victim of the weather.
The flat races were transferred to Kilmore with the jumps races going back to their original track on Saturday.
Purcell says slow ground at Flemington is enough to give Streaky Fella a realistic chance of back-to-back wins after a dominant 3-1/2-length victory in a heat of the Banjo Paterson series over 2540m two weeks ago.
Saturday's race will be Streaky Fella's 13th of the campaign and Purcell is surprised how well the gelding had continued to pull up after his recent races.
"The past three or four starts I've just been doing the same routine with him and he's done his work exactly the same," Purcell said.
"He's eating well as well so I'm definitely happy going into Saturday's race."
Streaky Fella is on the second line of TAB Sportsbet betting at $5.50 behind Exceptionally who has been a big firmer to $4.60.
Purcell believes luck in running will be crucial.
"He's raced against quite a few of them and every time he's raced against them there's been a different result," Purcell said.
"He's a couple of kilos worse off for winning the other day but he's raced well at the track and the ground is going to be soft which is to his liking."
Dhaafer, meanwhile, was purchased from the UK with the view to running in Australia's feature jumps races.
"This time last year we were watching all the big jumps races and we wanted to get a horse competitive in these races. He was a product of that plan," Purcell said.
Purcell said while there was only five runners, Saturday's race looked strong.
The Grand National Hurdle on Sunday week and the Grand National Steeplechase on July 29 are in Purcell's sights with Dhaafer depending on his Warrnambool performance.
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