He would never admit to it, but Nathan Purdon is pretty sure he knows Adore Me better than he knows himself.
As the right-hand man of New Zealand’s champion mare, the young horseman has watched and closely scrutinised every aspect of her career thus far.
He can tell you just by looking at her when she’s on the top of her game and then, conversely, when she’s not.
Yesterday though, the son of legendary horseman, Mark, went to a whole new level – and opponents of Adore Me in this week’s Four-Year-Old Diamond at the Harness Jewels in Cambridge, are not going to like what he had to say.
“It might sound silly, but I know that right now she is as good as she has ever been in her career,’’ he said.
“It’s actually unbelievable how good she is at the moment.’’
Purdon had an inkling things were getting back on track last week, then Adore Me confirmed his suspicions on Saturday when she trekked into Alexandra Park for her final public hit-out before Saturday with Purdon junior in the sulky.
“She was just simply awesome.
“Everything she did, she did on her own accord but she sprinted up so strongly and felt back to her old self again.
“After her run in the Taylor Mile she was pretty tired, three hard runs in record time had taken a bit out of her and you could really tell.
“She had three days off to freshen up after that run and has come back just incredible, really.’’
Saturday will bring mixed emotions for young Purdon as it will be the last time he takes the horse, who has become such a big part of his life, to the races for quite some time.
He and older brother, Michael, are off overseas for their OE early in July and could be gone for up to a year.
“At this stage we have said six months, but we are keen to try for a year and see what happens.
“It means I won’t be there to see her race for a while, so I’m hoping she can sign off on the right note on Saturday.’’
Drawn at barrier five, Purdon envisages his father will have no problems handling the mare this weekend and expected him to utilise her abundance of gate speed.
“She can fly out of the gate when you ask her too, like it’s actually scary how quickly she can leave it.
“I can’t see anything there that would cause her too many problems.’’
At $1.15 and $1.04 on the Fixed Odds markets for the Four-Year-Old Diamond, Adore Me isn’t going to offer anyone much value, but she is certain to be the subject of nearly every multi bet on the day.
By Matt Markham (Courtesy of Harness Racing NZ)