The incredible start Kentuckiana Lodge three-year-old Sugar Me has made to his career has earnt him a shot at the Victoria Derby.
The find of the Canterbury winter, the pacer has burst onto the harness racing scene, winning six of just nine starts for trainers Cran and Chrissie Dalgety.
With a classy three-year-old on their hands and time running out on his last shot at age-group racing, the Dalgetys and owner Larry Karr have taken the plunge and booked in a shot at the Group One Victoria Derby.
“He’s only three once and he’s not going to get the chance to race for A$200,000 here, so we made the decision to pack his bags and put him on the plane,” Cran said.
“The way he has been going, we think he has earned his shot at a race like this.”
“There will be fierce competition, we know that from our trip to Queensland.”
“So, we don’t think we are just going to show up and win but we definitely feel the horse has earnt the right to compete.”
Sugar Me’s Group One Victoria Derby tilt provides another opportunity for the Dalgetys to reward the patience of their pacer’s major North American owner.
“When we bought him it was never the plan to have to wait to race him as a late three-year-old,” Cran said.
“But he didn’t want to be a racehorse for a long time and I’m sure Larry must have been thinking what are they doing down there in New Zealand.”
“To be able to deliver these wins for him recently has been great, but if we were able to get a bit of luck and get amongst it over in Victoria that would be the icing on the cake.”
“We’d dearly love to have to post that trophy to America, it would top off what has been a rollercoaster ride with this horse so far.”
COVID restrictions mean Cran’s phone is about to start running hot.
And if an Aussie number pops up, he won’t even have to guess what the call is about.
“We are going to be using a Victorian driver, nothing has confirmed yet we are still sorting that one out.”
“Naturally I would have like to have booked my brother-in-law (Anthony Butt) but he is committed to American Dealer.”
“There is plenty of talent in the ranks over there, so we have plenty to choose from.”
The Victoria Derby heats will be run at Melton on October 2, with the Group One final to be held a week later on October 9.
On the home front, Kentuckiana Lodge will start three horses this weekend.
Mitsi Gaynor and Shards In Manhattan go around in race 2 at Addington while Invaluable starts in race 10.
- by Jonny Turner