Room on Purcell’s mantlepiece for home-town cup

AARON Purcell will give omen punters three options in today’s $40,000 Port Fairy Cup.

Purcell’s three runners will all carry the purple and gold colours synonymous with his home town in the cup at Warrnambool.

Purcell has Upbeat, Yokozuna and Shysta in the 1400-metre race and each jockey will carry the familar purple and gold silks.

“They had predicted some rain but it has not happened just yet. If the weather turns nasty, Shysta’s in with a chance. "

The 36-year-old trainer, who has a Warrnambool Grand Annual Steeplechase victory among his achievements, said he would love to win his home-town cup at the annual race meeting.

“I spent my early years living in the town and moved back a couple of years ago. It would be a great thrill if I could win the cup,” Purcell said. 

“A few of the owners of the horses come from Port Fairy and my parents live in Port Fairy, so we’ve got a very strong connection with the town. 

“I would be really pleased if we could put a Port Fairy Cup trophy on the mantlepiece.”

Upbeat, formerly trained by Anthony Cummings, rates as Purcell’s best chance in the feature race of the eight-race program.

“Upbeat’s had three runs for us. He’s my top hope to win the race,” Purcell said.

“His first-up run at Bendigo was an excellent effort. Upbeat had no luck at Caulfield and the same can be said for his run at Flemington. 

“We gave him a freshen up after his Flemington run and set him for this race.  

“We’re using today’s race as a stepping stone to races like the Woodford and Koroit cups, which are run over 1700m over the holiday period. 

“I think the 1700m will really suit him but today’s race over 1400m suits at this time of his campaign.”

Eight-year-old mare Shysta will be better suited to wet ground, according to the trainer.

“I’ve been keeping a close watch on the weather patterns over the past few days,” Purcell said.

“They had predicted some rain but it has not happened just yet. If the weather turns nasty, Shysta’s in with a chance. 

“Yokozuna has a mind of his own. 

“He had excuses for his last-start failure at Ballarat. He does not like running on shifty ground now. His best efforts will be on top of the ground.”

Top-weight Bocuse won the 2011 Port Fairy Cup carrying the impost of 58 kilograms. 

The nine-year-old lumps 59.5kg today and must be rated among the leading chances.

 Feeling Invincible, Sabres and the lightly-weighted Millie’s Magic are all hopes in a tough race.

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