by Adam Hamilton
Mark Purdon has snared two Derby placings with Motu Meteor this season, but now finds him as a major rival this weekend.
Since finishing second in the Victoria Derby and third in the NSW Derby, Motu Meteor has followed the path of so many other Merv Butterworth-owned pacers and moved to Kerryn Manning’s barn.
Manning and Butterworth decided last week to make a late raid on the Queensland Derby after Motu Meteor resumed from a spell with a sharp Ballarat win.
And now the draw has boosted his chances. Motu Meteor has gate one.
Purdon’s runner is raging hot favourite The More The Better, who has looked terrific winning both runs during his Queensland raid.
The More The Better is a $1.50 on the Aussie TAB despite drawing the back row (gate 11), while Motu Meteor is a seemingly generous $4.50 from the pole over 2680m.
The other key player in the race is last week’s sparkling Queensland Oaks winner Shartin from gate two.
Nobody is better placed to line-up The More The Better and Motu Meteor than Purdon and he is openly surprised by the stark difference in the odds for the Derby.
“I don’t think there is much between them,” Purdon said. “If More The Better had the run Motu Meteor did in the NSW Derby I think he would’ve run third to those other two (Vincent and Ultimate Machete) as well.
“Motu Meteor’s got the good draw and if he can get the right sort of run, he will be hard to beat.”
Purdon takes the reins on More The Better this week with Natalie Rasmussen heading overseas today (Thursday) on holiday.
Purdon’s Queensland raid ends on Saturday night and he then moves his Breeders Crown team to Sydney for qualifying heats at Menangle.
This will be a light Breeders Crown compared to recent years for the All Stars team.
“We’ve got just three for the Crown. Partyon and More The Better as well as the two-year-old Sicario,” Purdon said.
Approved By Dean Baring www.harnessbred.com
Driving The Future Of Harness Racing