Akuta (NZ) Overcomes Adversity in Auckland Cup Triumph
29 May 2023
Akuta (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) overcame adversity and showed his incredible class to win the $170,000 Group One Trillian Trust Auckland Cup (3200m) at Alexandra Park on Friday night.
The NZB Standardbred graduate was struck down by a hoof issue in the days leading up to the lucrative feature.
After missing some training and a crucial start in the Listed Roy Purdon Memorial (2200m), Akuta was still able to down a star-studded Auckland Cup field.
The brilliant pacer was purchased for $170,000 by the All Stars Racing Stables when he was offered by breeder-vendors Paul and Pauline Renwick at the 2020 Christchurch National Yearling Sale.
Mark Purdon paid tribute to his four-year-old’s determination after he overcame a tumultuous lead-up into the race.
“It was a tough win – he had a nice enough trip but he needed it to overcome what he had been through,” Purdon said.
Though Akuta’s hoof infection was unlikely to see him miss the Auckland Cup, Purdon wasn’t sure how much the horse’s interrupted build up would affect his winning chances.
But class prevailed when Akuta quickly pounced on his rivals in the home straight to added a seventh Group One title to his incredible resume.
“He was always going to be here, but just missing a run and a couple of days work you just wonder whether it was going to take its toll.”
Purdon produced his 10th Auckland Cup training win with Akuta and his first in partnership with son Nathan.
Though he has won every big race in New Zealand and many of them several times over, he still got special satisfaction from Akuta’s win.
“It was a great win and I got a real buzz.”
“It hasn’t been an ideal prep, but he got a nice enough trip and he was still good enough to overcome it and come out on top.”
With the Auckland Cup secured, Akuta will now head to the spelling paddock before he prepares for another tilt at the Group One New Zealand Cup (3200m).
The pacer ran a very creditable 4th in last year’s edition of the famed race when he was just three-years-old.
Photo: Trish Dunell