Trainer Kerry Parker is expecting veteran stayer Planet Purple to produce an improved effort when he runs in the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m) at Caulfield tomorrow.
Planet Purple made his Victorian racing debut in the Carnival Handicap (2800m) at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day and was far from disgraced, finishing in fourth place, but Parker told Racing Ahead that he would the Universal Prince’s performance was a little bit flat.
Parker said that Planet Purple had taken a while to settle in to his new environment, after what was his first interstate trip, but said the seven-year-old has come on well since the run and is confident he will run well in the Sandown Cup tomorrow.
“The horse is going absolutely terrific and I am really happy with him,” Parker said.
“He probably just raced a tough flat and he took a while to settle in.
“He only got here on the Friday before Tuesday and it wasn’t even until Sunday afternoon that I started to get happy with him.
“It was his first sort of trip away and it did take him a while to settle in but since then and since the race he has absolutely thrived.
“I think that he will run really well tomorrow but my main concern is the tighter track at Caulfield; I would much prefer that it was still at Sandown this year.”
Planet Purple settled at the back of the field in the Carnival Handicap and Parker said that he lacks the turn of pace out of the barriers to put himself in a handy position but is hopeful that the seven-year-old will be at least midfield this weekend.
“He does lack that turn-of-foot to get into a good position there out of the barriers; he is a big horse with a big stride and takes a little while to wind up,” Parker said.
“I would love to see him settle mid-field tomorrow to try and help him get around Caulfield.”
Planet Purple has recorded three wins from nine starts on rain-affected tracks and Parker believes that his gallopers winning chances will be improved significantly if the rain continues to fall around Melbourne before tomorrow’s race.
“He raced well at Flemington on the firm track but there was no doubt when it started raining earlier in the week that I hoped it would keep raining,” Parker said.
“Heavy tracks don’t seem to worry him at all and I think it takes the turn-of-foot out of some of the others.”
Parker is chasing his first feature race win in Melbourne since Don Raphael won the 2004 Saab Quality (2500m) at Flemington and earnt a start in the Melbourne Cup.