Cruz Bromac wins the Methven Cup
NZ HARNESS NEWS
It took Cruz Bromac less than four minutes to prove he was a huge New Zealand Cup hope by winning the Gr.3 Methven Cup at Mount Harding Racecourse on Sunday.
The ex-Australian pacer recorded an enormously-impressive victory in the 3000m feature in what his first race on New Zealand soil, for trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen.
Rasmussen sat quietly in the cart at the finish as Cruz Bromac paced straight past leading New Zealand Cup contenders Star Galleria and Ultimate Machete.
The reinswoman admitted even on the home turn she was not expecting Cruz Bromac to deliver such a brilliant performance.
“He had a great trip and he felt really good turning in, but I felt he might run out of power.
“Just being first-up over 3000m, but he surprised me a little bit with how good he did it and on the line he was still strong.”
Cruz Bromac arrived in New Zealand off the back of a sizzling win in the Gr.1 Len Smith Mile at Menangle in July and with just five starts past 2400 metres on his race record.
Any doubts about his staying prowess and whether he might handle the two miles of a New Zealand Cup quickly evaporated at the 100-metre mark of Sunday’s feature.
Exactly how Cruz Bromac will continue his New Zealand Cup preparation is not yet known.
Rasmussen said she and Purdon would assess how the horse pulls up and make a plan from there.
Given he had just one quiet trial leading in to Sunday, Cruz Bromac should line up in even better condition in whichever race the All Stars trainers choose to target next.
“You would naturally think so, unless he is a horse that races really well fresh.
“Just with fitness alone, I am sure the run under his belt will tighten him up a bit.
“I would think that if he improves a bit off [Sunday’s race] then we are in a really great place.”
Rasmussen hinted a quick backup in to the Ashburton Flying Stakes may not be on the horse’s agenda given how brilliant he was in a fresh state on Sunday.
“Going by today’s form he obviously likes to race fresh, so we will just keep that in mind a little bit.
“We will see how he pulls up; he seems to have pulled up great after the race, so we will just have to assess where we go now with him.”
The only work-on for the All Stars trainers following Cruz Bromac’s win was his slightly wayward standing start effort.
The seven-year-old left most of his rivals few excuses given the fitness advantages he gave away to many of them.
Forgotten Highway continued his excellent New Zealand Cup lead-up form with a strong second placing.
The Mitchell Kerr-trained pacer also made a mistake shortly after the start, but recovered quickly.
Star Galleria was no match for Cruz Bromac after enjoying a comfortable run in the lead.
He fought on strongly for third placing and is sure to improve from the run after suffering a minor setback since arriving in the South Island.
Ultimate Machete was a neck behind the northerner and went a strong race after sitting parked for the last lap.
A G’s White Socks was a shock scratching from the Methven Cup after being taken off the track by driver Ricky May during preliminaries.
- NZ Harness News