Kentuckiana Lodge colt Krug and his one-time catch driver Anthony Butt are set to get up close and personal again in Saturday night’s Queensland Derby at Albion Park.
Butt won’t be driving the Cran and Chrissie Dalgety trained three-year-old, that job will be left up to his regular reinsman Blair Orange.
Under normal circumstances, the emergency in the Group One feature Our Action Man would be scratched from the race on Saturday morning and Orange will line Krug up behind the mobile in barrier 2 on the second row.
That puts him right on the back of Butt’s helmet as he lines up Krug’s key rival in barrier 2 on the front line.
Though some people got hot and bothered about Krug drawing saddlecloth 10 on Monday but Cran wasn’t among them.
Because following out Butt and American Dealer is exactly where he wants his star pacer to be.
“I went there hoping for two draws, either 2 or 2 on the second line,” the trainer said.
“I really just wanted to be in the running line early, minding our own business.”
“If the emergency comes out we will be starting from 2 on the second line behind American Dealer, who is a really nice horse.”
“We just need things to go to plan and the emergency to come out, as expected.”
“I wasn’t worried about drawing handy on the front line because there will be plenty of fireworks early.”
“Over a derby distance we are happy to be staying out of that.”
“It is a different kettle of fish to the New Zealand Derby, there wasn’t the same speed there.”
“This race could be all on going into the first bend.”
American Dealer has been excellent in his last two Queensland wins and is clearly the hardest horse for Krug to beat.
The Ray Green trained three-year-old won last week’s traditional Queensland Derby lead up, the South East Derby.
Dalgety considered lining Krug up in the Group 3 event but eventually decided against it.
“I had him nominated and I thought about it and ended up pulling him out.”
“I am quite happy to be going in fresh with him this week, he has had a lot of hard racing and he is very fit.”
“From that perspective I couldn’t be happier with him.”
Krug was well backed and beaten into fourth in his first test against older open class stars in his last start in The Rising Sun.
Some said he was disappointing, but again Dalgety disagreed.
“I was rapt with his effort, he was very close up behind some very good older horses.”
“Giving away that year of experience and hardening at the top level was the only real difference.”
“I was proud of his effort, he was very brave.”
After Krug completes his Queensland Derby mission Cran’s focus will be getting home to New Zealand.
The New Zealand Government will close its quarantine-free Trans-Tasman Bubble with Australia in seven days.