Akuta (NZ) Speeds to Biggest Open Class Triumph

24 April 2023

Superstar pacer Akuta (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) even managed to prove champion trainer Mark Purdon wrong in his brilliant victory in the $86,000 Group One Dawson Harford Ltd Taylor Mile (1609m) at Alexandra Park on Friday night.

Akuta (NZ)
Akuta (NZ) was a $170,000 purchase by the All Stars Racing Stables 

The NZB Standardbred graduate charged late to take out the iconic sprinting event in a thrilling finish for trainer-driver Mark Purdon.

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.

Though Akuta went into Friday night’s feature as a certified star with a stunning group race resume, Mark Purdon admitted his inexperience in open class was a concern.

But the pacer’s outstanding effort to pick up the leaders in the final 100m of the Taylor Mile showed the trainer he was right up to competing with the best older pacers. 

“It is totally different coming out of age group racing into the big league,” Purdon said.

“I had my doubts about whether he was up to them at the moment, but I think he has proved to me that he is.”

Some key manoeuvring from Purdon got Akuta close enough to have his shot at the leaders after the pair settled well off the speed early.

“I was really thrilled with his performance, he was back a little way at the 800m,” Purdon said.

“But I got a good drag into the race by Bettor Eclipse and that was probably the winning point of the race, getting that nice drag into it.”

Akuta is raced by Purdon alongside Ian Dobson’s Cullen Breeding.

The green Cullen Breeding colours were first past the post in both group races at Alexandra Park on Friday night with Dobson also owning star trotter Muscle Mountain (NZ) (Muscle Hill).

“Ian has been a great supporter of the industry,” Purdon said.

“It is a wonderful night for him.”

Purdon has decided to bypass this week’s Group One New Zealand Messenger Championship (2700m) with Akuta.

The pacer will be aimed at the Listed Roy Purdon Memorial (2200m) before he takes on the Group One Auckland Cup (3200m).