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Johnson takes pride in Scone Cup starter

Murray Johnson travels full circle when Pure Pride goes around in the Listed Scone Cup.

Although Melbourne-born and domiciled abroad for decades before resettling in Victoria, Scone has always been a home away from home for the trainer.

“I first came here when I was 17 and just out of school,” Johnson said.

From the Hunter Valley he travelled overseas, notably the United States where he prepared Perfect Drift to run third in the 2002 Kentucky Derby.

Johnson followed last weekend’s race at Churchill Downs and although the Derby will always be a career highlight, finally having a runner in the Scone Cup is also memorable.

“I started at Yarraman Park 40 years ago. Scone was home until I went overseas. I ended up staying away for 30 years,” Johnson said.

He has visited Scone regularly over the years but until Pure Pride endured a luckless run in Melbourne last weekend he might have only been a spectator at the two-day carnival.

“When last week didn’t unfold right we looked for something. She didn’t exert herself so she was ready to run again,” he said.

A $15 chance with the TAB, Pure Pride has the outside barrier in the 18-strong field.

“It’s good we don’t have to be buried on the inside,” Johnson said.

The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained five-year-old Fabrizio ($4.60) led the market, followed by the Darren Beadman-trained duo, Moher and Duca Valentinois ($7).

Waterhouse and Bott doubled their representation in the 1600-metre feature when Supply and Demand joined the field on Thursday after Green Sweet was scratched.

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