Day At The Track

Purdon nervous about prospect of winning her first NZ Cup

01:34 PM 07 Oct 2013 NZDT
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Vicki Purdon and Christen Me.png
Vicki Purdon gives Christen Me a big pat

It’s been 16 years since Vicki Purdon owned her first Group 1 winner but come November 12 at Addington Raceway, Cambridge-born Purdon could nail the greatest New Zealand harness racing event of them all.

“The New Zealand Cup is such a hard race to win. You can never get carried away in a big race like the Cup. Any horse can win it because they are all good enough to be there.

“All the pressure is on us because we are the favourite. It would be much nicer if Christen Me was third or fourth favourite,” Purdon said

Purdon and breeder Charlie Roberts own Christen Me – the pronounced $2.60 favourite for the New Zealand Trotting Cup.

Two-time winner Terror To Love is at $3.60 while Inter Dominion king Themightyquinn is the third elect at $4.

Last week Themightyquinn’s Australian trainer Gary Hall Senior said he didn’t fear Christen Me.

Hall made the following comments after Christen Me’s emphatic first-up win in the Group Three Avon City Ford Cup on September 27:

“I don’t see what all the fuss is about. The race didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. It was nothing more than a jog round and a sprint home.

“All the talk just fuels us all to get across there and take those horses on.”

Purdon said she didn’t want to get into a slanging match with Hall because she respected him as a horseman, but said this was not the first time he had given a dig about a horse she had been closely associated with.

“He said Jack Cade was a dog once and couldn’t handle the passing lane. I did a lot of work with ‘Jack’ and after those comments he then went out and placed behind Just An Excuse in the Cup.

“Gary is entitled to his opinion but I never forgot those comments all those years ago. Christen Me is a little bit better than what he thinks,” Purdon said.

Former New Zealand mile record holder Scuse Me is the grand-dam of Christen Me. She gave Purdon her first taste of Group One glory when winning the Great Northern Oaks at Alexandra Park in February 1997.

Purdon has owned some good ones since then including the Group One winning daughter of Dream Away and Scuse Me – Imagine Me.

“I’ve been fortunate to have owned some really nice horses. Fear Factor was also a nice horse who won a Sires Stakes Trotting Championship,” Purdon said.

Purdon said she hoped trainer Cran Dalgety and driver Dexter Dunn could also nail their first New Zealand Cup wins.

“They have done a wonderful job with Christen Me. He is very kind to Dexter and really runs for him. Cran has also got the best out of him.

She described Christen Me as a gentle horse who had the all-round game.

“The great thing about him is that he’s not highly strung. He’s quite gentle and I think that will help him in standing starts.

“But he might not be a jumpy horse but I can tell you when he runs in the Cup I’ll probably be the most nervous person on course.

“I was like that the other night when he won. I think it is going to be a very anxious Cup day – that’s why it would be much easier on us all, including the horse, if he was the third or fourth favourite rather than the horse to beat,” said Purdon.

By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)

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