Round one to Krug
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Krug will take bragging rights and the favourites tag north to Auckland for the Sires’ Stakes and Harness Millions series after his dominant win in the Garrard’s Sires Stakes Series No.37 Heat 2 Mobile Pace (1980m) at Addington Raceway on Friday.
The contest was billed as a match race between Krug and It’s All About Faith, with the latter backed into $1.40 favouritism by punters after drawing barrier three in the six-horse field.
But it was the Nathan Purdon and Chrissie Dalgety-trained Krug who had the superior gate speed and was able to cross his archrival for the lead from his outside gate.
Driver Blair Orange set an honest pace up front and Krug was able to maintain his advantage until the end, winning by 1-1/4 length, despite a bandage unravelling down the straight.
“We had a bit of surface water on the track, so he just got into it and it slipped down and started to come off,” Purdon said.
“But it didn’t interfere too much, he’s well gaited and is pretty sensible, so it was nothing really.”
Purdon was delighted with the win and said there is still a fair bit of improvement left in the exciting three-year-old.
“It was definitely his biggest task to date and he certainly stepped up to the mark,” he said.
“When he got to the front he was always going to be hard to beat.
“He will benefit from the run again. We didn’t do too much with him from his trial. We backed off his work a bit this week and he did it more on natural ability tonight more than being screwed down and ready to go.”
Purdon will now head to Auckland next week with Krug and he said he may take stablemate Alta Sensation, who tailed the field home in Friday’s heat.
“We will look at travelling up on Tuesday,” Purdon said. “How he gets through that will determine if we look at going to the next heat, but we will let him tell us what he wants to do.
“We may take Alta Sensation north with him. There are a couple of class races and the trip away might just make him grow up a little bit.
“It was a big step up for him from a maiden race to take on the best three-year-olds in New Zealand. He finished back a bit but we weren’t expecting him to be super competitive.
“It was a yardstick to see how he is going forward and to see where he stands against the better ones.”
Kentuckiana Lodge recorded a winning double on Friday when Fabrizio won the Lamb and Hayward Mobile Pace (2600m) by 3-1/2 lengths.
“He is a pretty smart horse,” Purdon said. “He is an up and coming four-year-old and has taken on free-for-all horses in his last two starts and has handled it well.
“He won very easily tonight, we were rapt with him. He is another horse that is pretty exciting.”