Kentuckiana Lodge colt Krug is perfectly poised ahead of his first classic race tilt in Friday night’s Northern Derby at Alexandra Park.
Trainers Cran and Chrissie Dalgety go into the Group One feature after enjoying an ideal final lead up with their three-year-old.
After two solid hit-outs to start his latest campaign Krug unleashed a powerful victory in the Northern Derby Prelude last week.
And after enjoying a faultless week since, amid the chaos of a COVID interrupted night of premier racing, the Krug camp go into Friday night’s race full of confidence.
“Everything has come together and we couldn’t be happier,” Cran Dalgety said.
“95% of is just where we would want it to be and the other 5% is out of our hands and will depend on what happens on the night.”
“The horse is fit and healthy and he has got a nice draw in 5.”
“The driver has won more races than anyone else in the history of the country, so we couldn’t ask for too much more.”
Tony Herlihy took Krug to the front for a strong final hit-out in last week’s Northern Derby Prelude.
Well known as a good-doer, that run and this week’s training have the colt primed to be at his peak for Friday night’s Group One.
“Tony summed it up nicely last week and it was just what the horse needed," Cran said.
“The three runs he has had in Auckland have brought him on each time and he is really match fit going into the big one.”
“Now he just had to go out there and do battle.”
Few of the Northern Derby field have had a lot of experience over 2700m and Krug is a complete novice at 2700m.
But if any horse looks suited to the classic race trip it is the Kentuckiana Lodge colt.
His ability to drop the bit and settle in any race scenario and pick up again with push-button speed makes him the ideal derby horse.
“Of course it helps he is by Bettor’s Delight, so he has got plenty of staying power there.”
“But you can drive him on a rein of cotton and stepping up to 2700m is actually a big advantage to him whereas it might not suit some of the others quite as much.”
“There will be no excuses, put it that way.”
Kentuckiana Lodge start a second Northern Derby contender in Alta Sensation from barrier 7 with Jay Abernethy in the sulky.
The three-year-old earned his spot in the field with a powerful win in the grades at Alexandra Park last week.
While he may not be among the favourites, Alta Sensation has all the credentials he needs going into a derby.
“He is a little bit unheralded compared to some of the big names, but he wouldn’t be there if we didn’t think he could run a big race," Cran said.
“He has got a nice draw (2) to work with and he has got gate speed.”
“He is fit and well and we are hopeful can show he is up with the big boys.”
“He certainly won’t disgrace himself, that is for sure.”
Kentuckiana Lodge also starts Casino Action in the Group One Young Guns Final and Chevrons Bypass and Mitsi Gaynor in the Group Two Delightful Lady Classic on Friday night.
Casino Action has not been able to show his best in his last two after copping tough trips.
But from barrier 3 it is hoped he can show his true potential and the kind of form that saw him beat many of his rivals in his outstanding debut win.
Both Kentuckiana Lodge fillies have copped tricky draws with Chevrons Bypass starting from barrier 7 and Misti Gaynor in barrier 1 on the second row.
“The two-year-olds are all fit and well, they just need a bit of luck and they will be right there.”
On a busy weekend for Kentuckiana Lodge, Twlight Bromac starts in race 1 at Addington on Friday night.
by Jonny Turner