Adore Me - ready for battle

By Michael Guerin

Champion trainer Mark Purdon’s instincts tell him Adore Me’s breathtaking 1:47.7 mile on Sunday should have undermined her chances in tonight’s Auckland Cup.

Adore Me tells him something different all together.

The wonder mare has been jumping out of her skin since Sunday’s Australasian record run at Menangle, which makes her impossible to go past in tonight’s group one at Alexandra Park.

“For about 12 hours after the race I was thinking how a mile that hard must have flattened her and how she would probably miss the Cup,” admits Purdon.

“But when I saw her I couldn’t believe it. It hasn’t bothered her at all.

“Nathan (Purdon’s son and Adore Me’s strapper) said she was galloping around the paddock as soon as she had her tea at home that night and she has been great since.

“I suppose you never really know until the pressure goes on but she really seems to be thriving.

“She might just be in that zone where they can do amazing things and its doesn’t bother them.

“So I am going into the Cup a lot more confident than I thought I’d be.”
 For all the talents of those off the front line, the Cup looks a two-horse war between Adore Me and Christen Me, who between them have won almost every major race they have contested this summer.

Adore Me looks better placed at tonight’s draws, following out Lancewood Lizzie and Ohoka Punter, with room on her outside to chase through behind whoever begins better.

Christen Me follows out Smolda and while predicting the start of a group one race with two favourites off the second line is hardly an exact science, Adore Me looks likely to settle in front of her arch rival.

If she does that she should be able to work forward and with the numbers 1:47.7 next to her name carry the respect to get the lead.

Christen Me’s trainer Cran Dalgety admits that is a daunting prospect.

“She was a gorilla the other day, just amazing,” says Dalgety.

“Our horse is fine and ready to go and had we drawn to lead or even be in front of her then we would have a good shot.

“But I have seen good horses when they are going like Adore Me is right at the moment and you can’t come around them and beat them.

“So we are in for a big fight.”
 On the four occasions Adore Me and Christen Me have met in group ones this summer, the one who has been in front of the other going into the first bend has been first home, that score being 3-1 to Christen Me.

But a 2700m mobile Cup level at Alexandra Park can be brutal and Adore Me is the better stayer of the pair, Christen Me the more natural speedster.

So everything points to the great mare winning again tonight, unless new world champion Dexter Dunn is able to work some magic behind Christen Me early.

And even then that may not be enough.

With the scratchings, Ohoka Punter looks a great chance of blasting to the early lead so is the best upset chance while even bolters like Jason Rulz and Lancewood Lizzie now becomes First4 hopes.

But it will be a major shock if either Adore Me or Christen Me doesn’t win and in the process maybe seal Horse of the Year honours.