Akuta to bypass the Messenger

By Michael Guerin

Taylor Mile winner Akuta is going to be allowed to miss the Group 1 Messenger at Alexandra Park this Friday even though there is nothing wrong with the star four-year-old.

Akuta grabbed his brave stablemate Self Assured and impressive Victorian pacer Better Eclipse in the last stride of the $90,000 Mile at Alexandra Park last Friday after an early burn saw hot favourite Copy That left vulnerable in front.

He was the third different winner in the three open class pacing features in the north in 15 days, confirming the evenness of the crop and post-race Akuta was the $3 equal favourite for the Messenger this Friday.

But his co-trainer Mark Purdon says he is all but certain to bypass the 2700m mobile.

“He has raced three weeks in a row and I don’t want to make it four, especially in what could be a hard 2700m,” says Purdon.

“He is still only four and in his first real season of open class racing so if he misses this week I can get him ready for Dad’s race (The Roy Purdon Memorial, May 19) and the Auckland Cup a week later.”

Purdon says the short break will enable Akuta to have his hocks undergo their routine maintenance treatment, which because of the withholding times for medication he can’t have the same week he races.

“He has always had a few hock issues but he was the best he has been this last week,” Purdon explains.

“But Friday was a hard run and his run the week before in The Race by Grins was also hard so I don’t want to keep asking him to do that every week.

“I still think he is getting better and with a good spell after the Auckland Cup I think he could come back a better horse later in the year.

Purdon will be back to drive Akuta on May 19 but is suspended until then after being outed for seven driving days for his whip action in the Taylor Mile.

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