YEAR: 1993

SCUSE ME - Classic Winner Producing Mare

Scuse Me(1993 BGs Bunny-Super Smooth), USA family of Nora by Glencoe; 1:53.5, $126,841, 8 wins; 15 foals, 12 to race, 12 winners. Breeder and breeder of all her foals: Charles(CJ) Roberts.

Scuse Me is without doubt the mare of the moment - the hottest breeding proposition in NZ. Over the past couple of decades, the immediate family includes horses of the calibre of Christen Me, Adore Me, Have Faith In Me, Dream About Me, Imagine Me, Hands Christian to name a few. Woodlands Stud supremo Charles Roberts is prominent as breeder of Scuse Me as well as being involved in the breeding/ownership of a number of the family offspring.

Her sire, BGs Bunny, only stood the one season in NZ at Woodlands Stud serving 245 mares(161 live foals) before dying from a heart attack in September 1993. A grandson of Meadow Skipper and a top siring son of Albatross, BGs Bunny won 12 of his 26 two/three starts. He sired over 1,000 winners in USA with a number of his colts standing at stud in NZ(ill-fated Butler BG who also died from a heart attack in September 1993; McKinzie Almahurst; Allwin Steady; power Bunny). His broodmare sire record ranks him highly amongst the all-time greats - Precious Bunny, Tooter Scooter, Armbro Operative, Cams Card Shark, The Falcon Strike and stallions that stood in NZ at one time in WRH, OK Bye and Cams Trickster. BGs Bunny's major NZ credits all flow from Scuse Me.

Scuse Me's dam Super Smooth, unraced dam of 15 foals(five by embryo transplant, two to race both winners), 7 to race for 7 winners, four of whom won in NZ before having successful Australian careers. Other than Scuse Me, her progeny included Tricky Woman(3 wins, 1:56.2 at Winton), Vicalo(3 NZ wins/5 AUS wins, 4 wins at Albion Park), Il Casino(winner in NZ/14 WA wins, four at Gloucester Park), Supabet(4nZ wins/10 Qld wins, 8 at Albion Park, 1:53.8). Fallacy mare Gold Heritage's (granddam of Super Smooth), daughter Remit left dual Australian Broodmare of the Year Fiscal Miss(dam of Whitbys Miss Penny [da of Ima Spicey Lombo], Ace of Whitby, Whitby Timer, Whitbys Merit(dam of Montana Anna)-the Whitby clan.

Whilst known as the USA family of Nora by Glencoe, from a NZ perspective this is the family of Childe Harold mare Moonbeam(foaled in NSW in 1889) whose third dam is Nora. Moonbeam's dam Gracie was exported in foal to Australia from North America. Moonbeam left Don Cleve (successful sire/ damsire of AK Cup winner Blue Mountain King), breeding on through her filly Daybreak, winner of Henry Mace Memorial and Recovery Hcp at Addington. It was from Daybreak's filly Daisy Pointer that latter day NZ winners from this family eventuate(Daisy Scott to Dasy Gold to Gold Heritage). Major descendants apart from those tracing to Scuse Me include Quincey, Sir Joe, Pointer Hanover, Josephine Bret, Onedin Supreme, Bondy, Maximan.

The first foal of Super Smooth, Scuse Me won 8 of her 25 starts. Her race career commenced as a late 2yo with a second placing from 2 starts. At three, she was third in her second start in the Ladyship Stakes (won by Kates First), before recording her first win in a fillies maiden at Addington. She followed this with a forth in NZSS 3yof before winning three races at Alexandra Park including the GN Oaks and two Hydroflow Fillies heats. A win at Cambridge and then at Addington concluded her wins for the season(6) before finishing fifth in the NZ Oaks and seventh in the Hydroflow final. At four, Scuse Me, commenced with a win at Cambridge in an Elliott Futurity Stakes heat, several placings(thirds in Elliott Futurity final, GN Breeders 4yo Stakes) prior to her major CV credit, the Taylor Mile. In this she established the NZR of 1:53.5 for a mile, still an Alexandra Park mile record and equal fastest MR at Auckland(with Besotted, 1:53.5, 1700m). A fourth a week later in the Messenger was her final dividend-bearing place. Scuse Me has to date had 12 foals to race for 12 winners. She achieved breeding glory being named 2013 Broodmare of Year and receiving NZSBA Broodmare of Excellence Award.

Scuse Me's male progeny include:

Have Faith In Me, 2014/5 3yo colt/gelding pacer of year(7 victories in 11 3yo starts) is the first 3yo to achieve four Group One victories in a season: NZSS 3yoc(1:53.2, 1950), GN & NZ Derbies, Harness Jewels(1:52.5, 1 mile) together with the Flying Stakes and the listed 3yo Yearling Sales Series final. At four, he won first up in the Group Three Junior FFA(sponsored by Fahey Fence Hire) on NZ Cup Day, arrogantly winning in near NZ record time of 3:07.6/1:56.0(2600m). His performance to finish third in the Franklin Cup after conservatively losing 100m at the start and running unofficial sectionals of 2:53.7(last 1m), last mile in 1:54.1, half in 55.1 and quarter in 27.0, to go down by 2l in a 2:00 mile rate(2700m stand)was exceptional. The heir apparent in waiting then maintained his faultless group One records when recording his fifth Group One success in the second running of the 2015 Auckland Cup on New Years Eve(2014/5 season Cup run in March 2015 won by Christen Me). Starting from the unruly position, he began well and toughed out the 3200m journey to record his biggest win to date. At the beginning of January 2016, his record stood at 18:10-3-1, $712,279.

Megabucks, winner of 5 from 17 starts in NZ(Te Awamutu Cup, Alexandra Park 4 wins). In North America, winner of 7 recording 1:49.3US(Colonial Downs).

Toledo, seven-race winner in NZ with 4 as a 3yo(Alexandra Park[3], Cambridge), 2 at four(Alexandra Park, NZYSS Aged Pace at Kaikoura) and 1 victory at five at Alexandra Park before his export to Australia. He won his first start at Bathurst, his only placing in 7 starts over two years in Australia.

It is however Scuse Me's fillies that have taken prominence including:

Adore Me, outstanding champion filly and race mare, retired winner of 26 from 36 starts, $1.6m, 1:47.7(p3, 1:52.4), 12 Group Ones, 5 Group Two, 3 Group Three victories and placed in seven Group Ones(unplaced on only three occasions. At three, won 11 of 12 starts including the Ladyship Stakes, NZSS-3f(heat & final), GN & NZ Oaks, Nevele R Fillies(heat & final), Jewels-3f, plus additional wins at Auckland and Addington(2) with her only defeat being second in GN Derby after drawing the outside of the second row. She was the 3yo filly of her year. At four, she was the winner of 8 of 12 starts including the Junior FFA on Cup Day, GN Breeders Stakes, Queen of Hearts, Premier Mares Championship, NZ Standardbred Breeders Stakes, the Easter Cup, 4yo Jewels and an additional win at Addington plus seconds in the AK Cup, NSW Ladyship Mile and third in the Taylor Mile. At five, Adore M was the winner of 7 from 12 starts the NZ Cup, Ashburton Flying Stakes, GN Breeders Stakes, Queen of Hearts, Waikato Flying Mile(NZ mares mile record 1:51.6), Brian Hancock Cup, Ladyship Mile(Australasian record 1:47.7); 2nd NZFFA, Ak Cup and third in the Victoria Cup. She retired after fracturing a sesamoid bone when faltering briefly in the run home during her close second to her close relation Christen Me in the 2015 Auckland Cup. Adore Me was Aged Mare of the Year as both a 4 & 5yo.

Imagine Me, fine race mare, winner of 9 including 6 at three. She won her first 2 starts at Ashburton and Addington, followed by NZSS 3yof heat at Addington(3rd in the final), Nevele R Fillies heat at Forbury Park(2nd & 3rd in the Addington heats, 3rd in the final), AUS Breeders Crown heat at Addington-walkover; 5th in the semi-final and 3rd final)plus second in the 3yof Jewels and thirds in the Ladyship Stakes, GN & NZ Oaks. At four she was a winner at Alexandra Park on three occasions including the NI Breeders Stakes and third in the 4yo mares Jewels. Imagine Me had four 5yo starts for four fourths all at Alexandra Park including the GN Breeders Stakes and the Queen of Hearts before being retired (dam of a qualifier).

La Filou, Alexandra Park winner, dam of three winners including The Dip, 14 AUS wins(VIC VHRSC(MHRC) Cup at three, TAS Guineas.

Splendid Dreams, sub two-minute winner at first start(3yo), subsequently winning 2 of 6 starts. Proving to be a sensational broodmare carrying on from her mother Scuse Me, dam of:

. Christen Me, $2m+, 29 wins, 1:49.1, two-time Australasian Grand Circuit champion, multiple group winner(Hondo Grattan Sprint, Chariots of Fire, Superstars, Taylor Mile, Messenger, 4yo Jewels Emerald, New Briughton, Hunter, Bendigo, Victoria, Auckland and Easter Cups, Canterbury Classic, National Hcp, Maurice Holmes Vase twice, NZFFA, & Miracle Mile) plus Group One placed seconds in the Miracle Mile, Ballarat & Cranbourne Cups and thirds in the NZ & Victoria Cups.

Hands Christian, Easter Cup, Cambridge Futurity, International Cargo Express FFA, Paleface Adios Sprint, seconds in the NZSS & the 3yo Jewels and third in the 3yo NZYSS, 1:52.5

Dream About Me, 2014/5 NZ 2yo filly Pacer of the Year, unbeaten in 5 NZ starts at 2 and 3 Australian starts; Delightful Lady Classic 2f, 2f NZSS(p2, 1:54.9), Harness Jewels(NZ Record 1:53.3) and winner in Australiaof 2f Breeders Crown(1:57).

Splendid Deal, unraced dam of:
. Maxim, 5 wins including NZSS 2c, and VIC Derby heat & final.
. Splendour, 8 wins including Gold Coast Oaks(2nd Queensland Oaks), Nevele R heat.

Minor winners from Scuse Me - Coca Vicola(winner): Pardin Me(NZ winner, 10 WA/1 GP): Abide With Me(4 wins): Idolise Me(3 NZ wins, 1 Australia): Ohoka Jett(winner)

Credit: Peter Craig writing in Harnessed Feb 2016


YEAR: 2013


Adore Me moved into Horse of the Year contention with another crushing display in Saturday's $150,000 Nevele R Fillies Series Final No.35 at Addington.

With this weeks New Zealand Oaks and a Jewels Diamond seemingly at her mercy, Adore Me can finish the season unbeaten in 11 races against her own sex and only beaten by Ohoka Punter in the Great Northern Derby, a performance which only earned her further admirers given very few fillies have even taken on the colts in modern times.

Two further Gr1 successes in coming weeks would give Adore Me a total of five and stakes in her first campaign of almost $500,000. She has also claimed a New Zealand mile record for a filly of 1:52.4.

Off colour after the Derby and freshened, Adore Me has returned to racing again looking invincible. Despite drawing an outside gate in the Fillies Final, Mark Purdon was able to treat his opposition with contempt. Eased away into midfield as Kabet took them through a fast lead time, Purdon was on the move with a lap to run but Delightful Christian and Maurice McKendry had designs on getting to the front first. This had Adore Me working three wide in the open for a good way, but she was always travelling too well and had put Delightful Christian away with 700m to run.

With a last quarter in 27.6, Adore Me was always clear in the run home and she crossed the line with over three lengths to spare from stablemate Whisper Jet, who poked between runners after a good trip from Tony Herlihy. There was no loitering along the way and Adore Me's 2:20.6 was a mile rate of 1:56 and not far off Carabella's race and national record.

Purdon has won this race with O Baby and Secret Potion, and there has been other top fillies through the stable such as Twist And Twirl, Lancome, Meredith Maguire, Imagine Me and Imagine That to name just a few in recent times, but Adore Me is clearly in a class of her own. The extra distance of this week's Oaks will only suit Adore Me more than any of her rivals and then it will just come down to a fitting season finale at Ashburton.

Raced by her breeder Charlie Roberts along with his daughter Mary and son-in-law Paul Kenny, who are also racing half-sister Abide With Me on lease with Stephen Reid, Adore Me has also taken the record of her dam Scuse Me to another level when that BG's Bunny mare had seemingly done quite enough. Adore Me is her 10th foal and 10th winner, with eight in 2:00 having also included Imagine Me. Adore Me is Scuse Me's first foal by Bettors Delight however and she has since produced three more, including another filly this season.

Whatever the outcome of the Horse of the Year poll, where Adore Me will vie with Terror To Love, Stig and a late charge from Christen Me, the Broodmare of the Year is also looking a one-horse race for Scuse Me. She also happens to be the grandam of G1 winners Hands Christian and Christen Me and the third dam of good filly Splendour and juvenile Maxim, who both competed in Saturday's features as well.

Credit: Frank Marrion writing in HRWeekly 15May2013


YEAR: 2009


It was a double dose of Group 1 success for Lauraella at Addington this month. A week after winning the Nevele R Fillies Final, in which it was said she was short of her best, Lauraella ran off with the $150,000 Nevele R - Wayne Francis Memorial Oaks. There was a late flurry for second and third, with Alexis arriving just in time to peg back Imagine Me and Arden's Darlin was a clear fourth.

David Butcher gave Lauraella time to settle, midfield on the outer, and he sent her up with cover and made the lead comfortably at the 1600m. Events unfolded pretty much as expected from there, with little change until the second tier of favourites emerged in the run home to sort out the minors.

Lauraella, by Christian Cullen, has the probability of a repeat win in the Harness Jewels in less than a fortnight, and the possibility of the Breeders Crown after that. Sandy Yarndley, on behalf of the Hardwood Breeding Syndicate, says there has been no commitment to anything after the Jewels, but he knows there is nothing of importance for the 4-year-old mares until much later in the season.

Trainer Geoff Small is also cautious about thinking any further than the Jewels. "It's a long season for 3-year-old fillies, if you go to the Crown, but they do get a break after that." Small has done it before, winning three Oaks and the Crown with Pullover Brown, the only filly who could match what Laurella has done.

The double won by Lauraella has also been achieved by One Dream, Western Dream, Kate's First, Under Cover Lover, Robyn's Treasure, Tigerish and Smooth Performer in the last 25 years.

Credit: Mike Grainger writing in HR Weekly 20 May 09


YEAR: 2008

Mark receives congratulations from wife Vicki

Mark Purdon became the 16th New Zealand reinsman to notch up 1000 wins when he steered Doctor Mickey to victory at Ashburton on Labour Day. And just as quickly he began chipping away at the next 1000 when he proceeded to salute on Imagine Me, Auckland Reactor and Ohoka Utah on what was yet another stella day for his and training partner Grant Payne's Rolleston stable.

As a son of legendary horseman Roy Purdon and younger brother to Barry, it's hardly surprising that Mark longed to follow in the same footsteps and make harness racing his career as well. "I never thought about anything else," he said, recalling his childhood days. "One of my earliest recollections is sitting on the jogger with Uncle Sandy when I was about ten, and at the age of twelve I used to brush Sole Command every day after I came home from school. He was a wonderful horse, I really loved him. Besides, I was only average at school anyway...just there making up the numbers," he smiled.

Purdon gained his first win behind Dark And Dusty at the 'red clay' Northland circuit in February 1982, and within a couple of seasons he was soon compiling large totals on a regular basis. His best tally is the 75 winners he drove in 1988/89 and he went close again with 74 five years later; twice he's topped a million dollars in earnings during a season. "I get a kick out of any win really, but I suppose the prestigious races do mean a bit more to you," he said.

On the big days is where Purdon seems at his brilliant best, and there's no end to the amount of Group races he's racked up so far...110 of them in fact, including two NZ Cups, an Auckland Cup, an Inter-Dominion Pacing and Trotting Final, numerous age group Classics with both fillies and colts - not to mention the NZ Derby, a race which he's made his 'own' having partnered eight winners of the event since his first with Mark Roy in 1993.

Of all the 16 illustrious horsemen in this country's 1000-win Club though, Purdon is second to none when it comes to his amazing UDR, which highlights his strike rate. Currently at .4952 this season, it's at its highest yet. "I've been lucky with the sort of horses we've had over the years, because there's usually a lot of depth in the team," he said. "Plus your staff play a big part with the preparation of them all. But the UDR is something I'm conscious of, because you know that you've got a lot of following with the punter out there. So there's a certain pride involved, and you are always trying to do your best."

Credit: John Robinson writing in HRWeekly 30Oct08

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