Krug hot favourite to win Aussie opener

By Adam Hamilton

Young Kiwi star Krug is $1.30 with the Aussie TAB to open his Queensland raid with victory in tonight's Redcliffe Derby (7.43pm NZT).

It's natural to think a horse of his talent should win a race of that calibre, way below the heights he'e scaled at home.

But top Queensland driver Grant Dixon, who has driven at Redcliffe more than just about anyone, warned the unique triangle track could present challenges for Krug.

"It's a different track, that's for sure," Dixon said. "Cran's a great trainer and obviously he thinks he'll handle it if he's going there.

"I'd just say if he doesn't find the pegs, it'll be harder than you think. It's such a hard track to cover ground on, especially when there's good horses in the races."

Dixon doesn't have a Derby runner, but will be there trying to win the Redcliffe Cup and Oaks.

His stable star, three-time Queensland Horse of the Year, Colt Thirty One, resumes from a spell off a 20m handicap in the 2613m standing-start Cup.

"He's come back well, but it'll be very hard from back there," he conceded. "If L L Cool J steps away well (off the front), then it's his race to lose. The time he can run up front would make it almost impossible for others.

"We've got to hope he doesn't step well."

Colt Thirty One could back-up the following Saturday against the likes of King Of Swing, Spankem, Copy That and Turn It Up in the Wondais Mate.

In the Oaks, Dixon fancies his chances of upsetting hot favourite Sporty Dancer ($2).

"I think both our main chances have really good hopes. I'll drive Jasper, who should get a great run back on the inside from her draw, but Lady Avana (gate one) also has a great draw and is going really well," he said.

"Sporty Dancer had a great run to win last time and she's a nice filly, but I think our best two are good enough to really test or beat her if things go right."

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