Akuta and Self Assured headline classy field for Canterbury Classic

By Jonny Turner

The two favourites for the New Zealand Cup are set to take the build-up for the great race up a notch at Addington on Friday night.

Akuta and Self Assured return to racing for trainers Mark and Nathan Purdon to make up a capacity field for the Group 2 Canterbury Classic.

The two superstars have taken exactly the same path back to the races and they head into their resumptions very closely matched.

“I think they are very much in the same boat,” Mark Purdon said.

“They have come up together right the way through and I think they are right on the mark together.”

Though they bring star power and undoubted class to the Canterbury Classic, Purdon knows there is still a lot more to come from his two brilliant pacers.

“I think they are reasonably fit, but it is their first run back and I think it will come down to what kind of runs they get.”

“I am sure they will go good races, but their winning chances will depend on what kind of runs they get into it.”

“If things go their way, I am sure they will both go very good races.”

Purdon admitted Don’t Stop Dreaming is in a similar position to his two open class stars heading into Friday night’s Lazarus Stakes.

Don’t Stop Dreaming is clearly the class horse of the race, but he is also fresh up against horses that have had the benefit of a run or two.

From barrier 9, the superstar three-year-old is likely to need the right kind of track into the race.

“He is ready for a nice return to the races, but he is first up for quite a while,” Purdon said.

“With that in mind, I don’t think it is the type of race where he can go blasting forward and really making a statement.”

“So, it will depend on what sort of run into it he gets.”

“If he is handy enough to them, they will definitely know he is there.”

All Stars pacer Anything Goes drops back in class after running strong races in the recent New Zealand Cup lead ups.

The five-year-old starts from a 10m handicap, behind his stablemate Franco Indie who will be on the front line.

Running third in the recent Hannon Memorial looks great form for Anything Goes to bring to his assignment on Friday night.

“He was going to foot it with the good ones in the Hannon, he just didn’t get all the luck there,” Purdon said.

“But he still ran well and he should be hard to beat if he does everything right on Friday night.”

Franco Indie will have his first standing start when stepping out in race 5.

Major Hot and Chase A Dream will carry the Purdon colours in Friday night’s two-year-old event.

While the All Stars trainers also start With Style and Carrera Rapido, who look leading chances in race 11, as well as Look To Da Stars in race 2.


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