Purcell chasing biggest win on the flat

Warrnambool trainer Aaron Purcell is chasing his biggest flat win in the Group Two Sandown Guineas with Yorkshire Lad who has exceeded stable expectations this campaign.

Purcell, best known as the trainer of 2008 Grand Annual and Grand National Steeplechase winner Ginolad, said hopes had grown enormously for Yorkshire Lad who only won his maiden against just four other runners at Warrnambool a month ago.

“We didn’t expect him to be running in the Sandown Guineas on Saturday but I thought he would measure up to them in the city somewhere,” Purcell said.

He said Yorkshire Lad showed promising signs from the start.

In his first campaign earlier this year he was third to subsequent Bill Stutt Stakes winner Hollowlea at Hamilton and later to stakes-placed Enzed Girl at Warrnambool.

He has also been placed in his four runs this spring including his Warrnambool success three starts ago.

The colt’s last two runs have buoyed Purcell’s hopes of a competitive run in the Sandown Guineas (1600m), with Yorkshire Lad finishing a luckless third to Bigelow at Moonee Valley and running the same horse to a neck when second in last Saturday’s Listed Hilton Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.

Only Pressday ($4.20) is ahead of Bigelow ($4.80) in TAB Sportsbet’s Guineas’ market while Yorkshire Lad is at $9.

“People keep talking up Bigelow but if we had the run he did at the Valley we probably would have beaten him home,” Purcell said.

“We went to Flemington not knowing if the form would hold up but it did and if the talk is right that Bigelow is the one to beat in the Guineas we are a really good chance.”

Purcell said Yorkshire Lad was still unsure about racing but he was hopeful he would learn quickly.

“Every start he does things wrong, gets out of his ground, overraces and such things,” Purcell said.

“He hasn’t really figured out how to race properly and travel in his races but it will come in time, hopefully sooner rather than later.

“On what he’s done so far there is better to come.”