Akuta (NZ) Honours Dobson in Emphatic Ashburton Victory
24 October 2023
Akuta (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) cemented his status as the hot favourite for the Group One New Zealand Cup (3200m) with his outstanding victory in the $57,000 Group Two NZB Airfreight Ashburton Flying Stakes (2400m).
The NZB Standardbred graduate was the only horse to make a mid-race move, but that exertion took nothing out of him as he powered a classy win in the NZB Airfreight sponsored feature.
Akuta was purchased by the All Stars Racing Stables for $170,000 when he was offered by breeder-vendors Paul and Pauline Renwick at the 2020 Christchurch National Yearling Sale.
The superstar pacer is raced by trainer Mark Purdon with the late Ian Dobson’s Cullen Breeding Ltd.
Dobson, who made an incredible contribution to New Zealand standardbred breeding was remembered at Ashburton on Monday following his passing a week prior.
Driver Olivia Thornley carried a black arm band when partnering Akuta and she was thrilled to be able to win the race while honouring Ian ‘Dobbie’ Dobson.
“It meant a lot to get the win, especially with the passing of ‘Dobbie’,” Thornley said.
Akuta is by champion sire Bettor’s Delight (USA) from Adore To Our Dreams (NZ) (Christian Cullen).
Adore To Our Dreams is by Dobson’s remarkable racehorse and sire Christian Cullen (NZ) (In The Pocket).
Akuta didn’t make the fastest beginning in the Ashburton Flying Stakes, but giving away any advantage at the start had no impact on the race result.
Thornley was able to choose when she put Akuta into the race and she got her calculations spot on.
“The horsepower he has, you can put him anywhere in a race and he just relaxes and when you ask him to go he just keeps trying,” the reinswoman said.
Akuta was already the clear-cut favourite for the Group One New Zealand Cup heading into Monday’s feature.
His dominant victory in the Ashburton Flying Stakes only saw his odds for next month’s time-honoured event shorten even further.
Republican Party (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) chased hard and made up plenty of ground when running home stylishly for second behind Akuta, sealing a quinella of NZB Standardbred graduates.
The four-year-old has been brilliantly consistent this spring and looks right on track for his first New Zealand Cup tilt, next month.
Republican Party was secured by trainer Cran Dalgety at the 2020 National Yearling Sale at Christchurch for $210,000 when he was offered by his breeders Price Bloodstock.