Tough mare Purrfect Deal was a deserving winner of the 2021 Maclean Hotel Grafton Cup on July 8. Image: Screenshot from Racing NSW website.

Perfect cup win for Purrfect Deal

Emma Pritchard|

Lightly raced mare Purrfect Deal demonstrated her quality staying ability and prowess to win the 2021 Maclean Hotel Grafton Cup over 2350m on July 8.

Backing up a dominant performance in the 2021 Westlawn Finance Grafton Cup Prelude 11 days earlier where the four-year-old carried a topweight of 62kg to victory, Purrfect Deal dropped 8kg and was reunited with her regular jockey Ben Thompson for the premier event of the annual July Racing Carnival.

A firming favourite in the market, Purrfect Deal was 3/1 when the barriers flew open at 3:55pm.

Given a positive ride by Thompson, she sat up on the speed behind early leader Spencer before looming at the top of the home straight and kicking strongly to win by a long neck from the fast finishing Laure Me In and Parry Sound.

Her Gold Coast trainer Michael Costa, who previously worked as a Deputy Chief Steward in Grafton, revealed he had dreamed of winning the Grafton Cup for 13 years.

“It’s a very emotional day,” he said proudly as Purrfect Deal returned to scale.

“Spencer putting the pace in the race allowed her to get into a sweet spot after doing a bit of early work and the mare is just so tough.

“To go from a mile to 2230m last start and 11 days later back up in this quality field and do that, it’s a quality effort.”

Going into the Grafton Cup, Costa said Purrfect Deal was “very skinny in the market for a horse on the way up,” and added the increase in journey was never an issue for her.

“The further she goes, the stronger she hits the line,” he said.

Thompson also praised the mare for her outstanding win and said the Grafton Cup had been Purrfect Deal’s biggest test.

“I used a bit of gas to get across and find the rail, and she stuck it out really well with 54kg on her back,” he said.

“She is an out and out stayer.

“Big thanks have to go to Michael and his team for the way they’ve placed her.

“She’s a great horse.”

A $16000 purchase at the 2018 Classic Yearling Sale, Purrfect Deal has had 11 career starts for seven wins and two minor placings.

Her Grafton Cup success lifted her prizemoney over $235000.