Dalgety plots path for Krug and The Race
By Michael Guerin
Top trainer Cran Dalgety is facing one of the greatest challenges of his career preparing Krug for the $900,000 The Race at Cambridge next month.
And he is getting a mini preview of how that may play out as Remember Me heads to the $150,000 Pascoes Northern Oaks at Alexandra Park tomorrow (Friday).
Dalgety has won major races all over Australasia so the pressure of Group One preps is nothing new to him but he has been more Tender Loving Carer than horse trainer this week.
Both Krug and Remember Me have returned from punishing Sydney campaigns that started well but ended poorly needing to recharge and Dalgety says that means less is more.
“They both went super when they first got over there but then for either reasons of luck, which comes down to draws, or getting a bit tired their form dropped off,” says Dalgety.
“So I am now in a phase of getting the best out of them by freshening them up, making them happy and trying to peak them again.”
For Krug that means missing Alexandra Park next Friday and maybe only trialing at Cambridge a week before The Race, the new slot race set to launch with a bang on April 14.
Krug was one of the favourites for The Race when taken early by slot holder Aussie Lads but his Sydney form drop off has seen him drift to $17 with the TAB, odds unlikely to shorten until at least the barrier draw since he won’t be taking on Self Assured, South Coast Arden, Mach Dan and Spankem at Alexandra Park on April 1.
“He was a bit flat when he got back from Sydney but is looking and feeling good now,” says Dalgety. “But he will have a trial in between races at Cambridge a week out from The Race - that is where we will head.
“He can race very well on the fresh side, as we saw when he came from a wide barrier to pace 1:49 to win fresh up in Sydney.”
Krug will have premiership winner Blair Orange in the sulky for The Race, with Tony Herlihy now confirmed for visiting Australian mare Spellbound as The Race starts to take its final shape.
Self Assured is the $2.30 favourite for The Race, ahead of Mach Dan and South Coast Arden at $5.50 with Spankem the only likely starter yet to be confirmed for the April 14 event, his spot dependent on his performance on April 1.
South Coast Arden’s slot contract was finalised on Wednesday.
Dalgety’s softly-softly approach to Krug is being mirrored with Remember Me heading into tomorrow night’s Oaks, one of the four age group features on Northern Derby night at Alexandra Park.
Remember Me, a daughter of champion mare Adore Me, had little luck in the back end of her Sydney campaign and then returned home to a torrid run in the Oaks Prelude at Alexandra Park last Friday.
She is good enough to test favourite True Fantasy tomorrow night and at her peak would be suited by the 2700m but a succession of hard runs has Dalgety trying to massage her to the race.
“We are freshening her up this week, trying to get her happy and then hopefully she can show her best.”
The Oaks is a form puzzle for punters as True Fantasy produced a career-worst performance last start and hasn’t trialled since, trainer Mark Purdon suggesting the severe dust in paddock at Pukekohe up until the weather changed last week had been affecting her.
At her best she would almost certainly win the Oaks, especially from barrier one, but with her recent defeat and some doubts over how screwed down she can be for tomorrow night True Fantasy could be tested early.
There are no such doubts about stablemate Akuta heading into tomorrow night’s $250,000 Woodlands Derby while both Young Guns finals have drawn small bit select fields, particularly the male pace.