Nathan Purdon heading home

By Adam Hamilton

Nathan Purdon can’t wait to get home.

But first, the top young horseman and his partner, Mikayla Lewis, have some unfinished business in Victoria.

Purdon confirmed this week he and Mikayla would be returning to Christchurch after a couple of years training near Geelong in Victoria.

The Victorian stint has been hugely successful on many levels, but also personally challenging for two people who have all their family and friends back in NZ.

“It feels like it’s the right time,” Purdon said. “We’ve got some races here until late November, then we’ll head back. We’ve already told our owners and scaled back to just nine in work.”

Champion mare Amazing Dream, the recently-retired star mare Spellbound and very exciting Amore Vita have the pin-ups for the stable in Victoria.

“We’ve been lucky to have some fantastic horses and support from some wonderful owners over here and back home,” Purdon said.

Amore Vita is the reason Purdon isn’t home already.

“Yes, you know I think she’s a bit special and there’s some nice races coming up over here for her,” he said.

“She’s got a heat of the Victoria Oaks in six weeks and we’d like to get a run into her before that. After the Oaks she’s got the Breeders Crown.

“It works well to head back after the Breeders Crown and take her because the NZ Oaks is 16 days later in the first week of December.”

Amore Vita dipped her form from the lofty standards she had been setting during the recent Queensland Winter Carnival.

“Don’t judge her on that,” Purdon warned “We really buzzed her off the gate one night early in the Carnival at Redcliffe and she wasn’t the same afterwards.

“She got really keen and fierce and you didn’t see anywhere near the best of her.

“It’s been perfect to get that break into her now and I’m confident you’ll see the best of her again when she returns.

“We now know she needs to relax early in her races then make a midrace move or come with one late run. She’s fantastic doing that.”

Purdon also likes a couple of two-year-olds still in the barn, Oliver Dan and Our Vinnie.

“They’re both nice horses and I’d love to take them back to NZ with us, but that’ll depend on talks with the owners,” he said.

“I really like Oliver Dan. He’s a Bettors Delight and when he learns what it’s all about, I’m sure he’ll run in all the good races.”

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