Krug back, but not for long

By Michael Guerin

New Zealand’s best three-year-old pacer Krug returns home today but he may not be there for long.

The three-time Derby winner returns to trainer Cran Dalgety’s stables outside Christchurch after a tough campaign in Queensland to end an enormously successful three-year-old season in which he won the Woodlands Northern and NZ Derbys at home and was at times rated the next big thing in the code.

But oddly while Krug’s three-year-old season should be over he remains that age until January 1 as Harness Racing New Zealand has changed the date harness horses now change age.

With the decision made this year and New Years Day now the official date of age change for New Zealand horses they all remain the age there turned on August 1 last year for 17 months as a one-off.

While that will be confusing for punters the simplest rule when betting will be take each horse on its own merits and these days a smart two or three-year-old will be competitive in the lower to intermediate grades against the older horses.

But in Krug’s case the new age change date will mean he could have become a rarity by being a three-year-old contesting November’s New Zealand Cup but Dalgety says that won’t be happening regardless of how old the paperwork says Krug is.

“He isn’t ready for the New Zealand Cup this year whether he is three or had just turned four,” says Dalgety.

“I am probably not even going to nominate him for it because there is basically no chance he will go there.

“He is too immature and they could go 3:53 for 3200m (standing start) and that could undo him for the rest of the season so we are in no hurry to try him in open class.”

That decision is made easier by the fact two of Australia’s bigger three-year-old races, the A$200,000 Victoria Derby and A$200,000 Breeders Crown, are now held in October and November because Australia have also changed to a January 1 age change for all their horses.

So Krug will be back in Australia by late next month to prep for the Derby at Melton on October 9 and a re-match with his Queensland Derby conqueror and fellow Kiwi pacer American Dealer.

“With those races being still against three-year-olds it makes sense to target them and let him race three-year-olds as long as he can.”

Also there but not quite in Krug’s class is Sugar Me (R6, No.7) who is Dalgety’s sole rep at Addington tonight looking for four wins on end.

“He has been a hell of a horse to get going the way he is and three months ago I would have given him no chance of being this good,” explains Dalgety.

“But he has kept improving and judging by his last win he might be heading through the classes.

“I was going to give him a spell but he gets to race the same horses he beat last start this week so he should go very close again.”

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