Gallant Gold Coast mare Purrfect Deal defied a betting drift to race away with the 2021 Westlawn Finance Grafton Cup Prelude on June 27. Image: Screenshot from Racing NSW website.

Purrfect time to race towards the Grafton Cup

Emma Pritchard

Gold Coast mare Purrfect Deal pounced on favoritism for the 2021 Maclean Hotel Grafton Cup after trouncing her rivals in the 2021 Westlawn Finance Grafton Cup Prelude on June 27.

After opening in the market at $1.90, the punter’s enthusiasm for the four-year-old daughter of former champion stayer Dundeel (NZ) fell away, and by the time the barriers flew open at 4:25pm, Purrfect Deal had drifted to $3.30.

The class horse in the field, the bonnie mare shot clear in the home straight as soon as jockey Andrew Mallyon gave her her head to win by three and a half lengths in a dominant display, despite carrying the topweight of 62kg.

It was her sixth win from 10 starts in a career that also boasts two minor placings and earnings over $125000.

As the mare returned to scale, her stable representative Michael Morrison spoke to Sky Thoroughbred Racing on behalf of her trainer Michael Costa, about her chances in one of the feature events of the 2021 July Racing Carnival next week.

“Dropping to 54kg in the Grafton Cup, she’s a massive chance I think,” he said.

“She’s got a good race in her, whether it’s next week although I know she’ll go close in it (Grafton Cup).

“She’s still really developing as a stayer and she’ll just keep getting better.”

After previously finishing unplaced at Eagle Farm behind quality mare Nudge in the hotly contested Queensland Sapphire Stakes over 1600m on June 5, Purrfect Deal relished the step up to 2230m on the weekend and maintained her unbeaten record on a soft surface.

Morrison also revealed the mare’s regular jockey Ben Thompson would more than likely be reunited with the horse next week and said Mallyon, who was riding with a minimum weight of 59kg, had been the elected hoop for the prelude given Purrfect Deal had been allocated the topweight.

During his post-race interview, Mallyon said he always felt confident Purrfect Deal would feature in the finish and said she gave him a lovely ride.

“I just wanted to keep her nice and smooth with the weight,” he said.

“She’s only a little thing and I thought she did a great job to carry that sort of weight and run away from them.”