Sky Major out to bounce backBy Michael Guerin
While most harness racing fan's Australian focus this weekend will be on Melton, Barry Purdon will be looking in a different direction.
The Hall Of Fame trainer will instead be hoping stable star Sky Major can reignite his season in a free-for-all at Menangle and stake a late claim for the Miracle Mile on February 28.
Sky Major looked pacing's next big thing at the end of last season when he won the Chariots at Menangle, the Messenger and then became the first three-time winner of the Jewels.
This season started well but New Zealand Cup week seemed to be a weird Bermuda Triangle into which his form disappeared and Purdon is still looking for it.
So after a series of pleasing workouts, Sky Major heads to Sydney where his A$31,000 mile tomorrow night looks ideal.
"He likes Menangle and the Miracle Mile has always been a race we were keen on," says Purdon.
"So he deserves a shot at it. We know we are not going there with a picket fence formline but I am happy with him and he looks good in the body and eye to me.
"So this is his chance to get his form back."
Sky Major will be driven by local horseman Blake Fitzpatrick in a race the best version of him would win so he won't get a better chance to break his duck for the season.
He has been accompanied to Sydney by stablemate Start Dreaming, who has drawn well in a suitable race as she counts down to the Ladyship Mile in three weeks.
Purdon will also have a strong hand in the main pace at Alexandra Park tonight, where he rates Democrat Party the best of his three chances.
"She has been racing really well and while she doesn't have a lot of experience from a standing start I am happy with where she is at," said Purdon.
"But I was also happy with The Faithful at the workouts last weekend so the start will be important."
Backmarker No Doctor Needed could be the hardest to beat with the small field negating his handicap, as he has genuine open class form this season and was fourth behind The Orange Agent and Ohoka Punter last start.
Purdon won't be the only big player at Alexandra Park tonight with his eyes also on Australia tomorrow.
Trainers John and Josh Dickie, who have Speeding Spur up against Monbet at Melton tomorrow night, have a great chance in the main trot tonight with Scarrymcleary.
He outstayed Speeding Spur, albeit a handicap start, last time to the races and will only need to perform to that level tonight to win.
Tony Herlihy, who trains co-favourite Ohoka Punter in tomorrow night's Hunter Cup, has Its Oscar in tonight's trot as well as big winning hopes in Mastercraftsman (race three) and The Almighty Johnson (race four)
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