Before taking on Australia, Kentuckiana Lodge four-year-old Krug must take on one of the toughest spots in New Zealand harness racing.
It won’t be any picnic for the Cran and Chrissie Dalgety trained pacer when he lines up from the dreaded barrier 8 alley – on the outside of the front line – over 1700m at Cambridge on Friday night.
Though far from ideal, Cran is taking a matter-of-fact approach to the free-for-all event and won’t be offering any excuses before or after it.
“Naturally we would have liked to have taken the shortest way home, but we are not going to let this draw put us off,” the trainer said.
“He’s going to Australia to race the best of the best over there and we think he can measure up with them.”
“If he is going to do that, he is going to have to go close to winning on Friday night.”
“We have got healthy respect for the opposition – The Honey Queen and Hot And Treacherous and the like.”
“But even with the draw situation, we think we can be right there with them.”
Krug chased in vain in his last start in Kango’s Franklin Cup, never a realistic winning chance off his 30m handicap.
The four-year-old ran into fourth placing in an effort that pleased Dalgety.
“He basically had to sprint three or four-wide for 600m, he raced very well and I don’ think he could have gone much better.”
“He has taken good improvement from that run and his work has been very good.”
“He is going to race well, it might depend on how things unfold in front of him, but regardless of that he should be very prominent.”
Kentuckiana Lodge has a long association with Todd Mitchell who takes the reins behind Krug on Friday night.
The Dalgety barn also start Casino Action in race 5 at Cambridge.
The three-year-old comes into his 2200m assignment after chasing the impressive Chimichurri in his big win at Alexandra Park on Friday night.
Though he raced well, Dalgety is hoping for more this time.
“It was a good run at Alexandra Park but he just got a bit rocky in his gait before the home turn and that cost him his momentum.”
“It is unlike him because he is a lovely pacer.”
“We will put that behind us, I wouldn’t think it would be an issue again going left-handed at Cambridge.”
With his blazing gate speed, Casino Action should take all sorts of catching in race 5.
“Barrier 2 is a real bonus for him, hopefully he can get to the top end nice and comfortably.”
“He should race very well, I’d like to think he would be pretty hard to beat.”
The Dalgety stable start just one horse from their home base this weekend in Suntan, who heads to Nelson on Friday.
The filly looks ideally placed in a lower grade event, a long way back in class from the two-year-old group races she competed in last season.
Suntan had a pipe-opener for the Dalgetys at Ashburton before Christmas, running fifth.
The three-year-old should strip a much fitter horse for her 2400m assignment on Friday.
“Her run at Ashburton was good, she was a long way back and rushed home, probably just peaking at the 100m.”
“She has taken a heap of benefit from that.”
“We are just getting to know her and she is a lovely filly.”
“We will head up to Nelson with a bit of confidence because her work has been super.”
“She is going to be very competitive.”
Sarah O’Reilly will pilot Suntan at Nelson.