Last hurrah for Matt Purvis tonight
He's been a familiar face around the Woodend stable for a long time, but for junior reinsman Matt Purvis, tonight will be his final drive as part of the Robert Dunn stable. This weekend Matt will head down to Southland where he will begin a new chapter in his working life under the employment of Ryal Bush trainer Nathan Williamson.
Matt joined the Woodend set-up around three and a half years ago and quickly found it a great place to work.
"John is such a brilliant boss. He is such an amazing horseman, but when it come down to it he is also a great people person and someone that we can all relate to and get on with so well."
Over the three seasons that he has had driving for John and Robert, Matt has consistently made good progress with his driving. Five wins in his first season, were followed by 13 last year and a further 10 so far this season. John has been impressed with the progress of his junior reinsman.
"There's no doubt that Matt has come a long way as a driver. He is a really good horseman and I've had no problems putting him on some of our better horses over the past few years, when I can in the junior driver events."
Matt feels very lucky to have driven such topliners to victory such as Elios, No Doctor Needed and Say My Name.
"I am very lucky to have driven horses such as these and I know that a lot of people never get to drive horses of this calibre in their whole career."
While perhaps the winners are a little down this year compared to last year, Matt is happy with what he has achieved.
"I think that overall I have had less drives, but have had a better quality of horse to drive and as a consequence, my driving has really come ahead in leaps and bounds."
While Matt has benefitted greatly from the expertise of John and Robert over the past few years, he has also been realistic when it has come to more limited driving opportunities.
"I know that at the end of the day it is the owners that come first and of course when you have John, Dexter and Gavin Smith all driving for the stable, of course people want them on their horses."
While Matt wasn't really looking for a reason to move on, it was an opportunity offered by Nathan Williamson recently that will see him move south.
"Nathan is a really successful trainer and driver and mentioned that he was looking for someone to be his stable junior driver and also to be able to drive his double-ups."
"The ranks of the southern juniors are pretty thin now and with only Rory McIlwrick and Sheree Tomlinson as the really established junior drivers down there it is too good of a chance to turn down."
"Nathan has a number of nice three year olds that will be well placed as early season 4yr olds and so I should get plenty of chances."
"I will make sure that I get along with Nathan to the workouts and trials over the next few weeks so that I can get to meet a few people and get my name out there. I'm pretty excited by it all really."
However, Matt knows that it won't be easy leaving the beach where he has learnt so much and has met so many great people.
"Yea thats going to be really hard as I have got such great friends out there and I will miss them all for sure."
"It's also going to be a big shock to the sytem going around the track working the horses, instead of what is such a great workplace out on the beach."
Matt has one last chance to get a win in the stable colours tonight, driving Extreme Guest in a C1 contest for the junior drivers. He rates his chances highly.
"He seems to be getting better all the time and seems a very sensible horse. I can't see the inside barrier causing him too much bother tonight. We should be able to pozzie up handy and then get them up the passing lane all going to plan."
Win, lose or draw tonight, the Robert Dunn stable wish Matt all the best. He has been a top man around the stable and we only wish him all the best for his future. Go well Matt.
Matt and Say My Name get the job done at Addington back in March
Posted: Fri 29 Jul 2016