Akuta On Track for NZ Cup with Dominant Kaikoura Display

31 October 2023

Akuta (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) signed off a nearly perfect Group One New Zealand Cup (3200m) preparation when dominating the $58,000 Group Two Alabar Kaikoura Cup (2400m) at Kaikoura on Monday.

Akuta (NZ) storms clear to take out the G2 Kaikoura Cup

The brilliant NZB Standardbred graduate stamped his class among a star-studded line up, scoring a powerful victory for trainers Mark and Nathan Purdon and driver Olivia Thornley.

Akuta was purchased by the Purdons’ All Stars Racing Stables for $170,000 when he was offered by breeder-vendors Paul and Pauline Renwick at the 2020 National Yearling Sale in Christchurch.

The star pacer delivered a powerful message to his New Zealand Cup rivals when producing a crushing victory just over two weeks out from the time-honoured feature.

“He certainly did,” Mark Purdon said.

“I was a bit worried, he had to work around the field at that stage of the race.”

“The speed seemed to be on for most of the race.”

“In hindsight Olivia pulled the right rein at the right time.”

In a similar effort to his brilliant Group Two Ashburton Flying Stakes (2400m) a week prior, Akuta was the only horse to make a mid-race move in the Kaikoura Cup.

Mark Purdon & Oliva Thornley celebrate post race

Thornley moved the pacer up take the lead at the bell and from there, the four-year-old was too classy for an outstanding line up.

“I was absolutely rapt with the horse, he was a little bit slow away again but he was able to get around and get to the lead and he was just too strong in the end,” the reinswoman said.

“He felt really good, he definitely improved from that run at Ashburton.”

After two outstanding wins in the most recognised lead up races to the New Zealand Cup Akuta looks perfectly poised going into his huge assignment.

“Each run has just tightened him a little bit,” Purdon said.

“I am pleased that after a hard run like that the New Zealand Cup is his next race.”

“We just keep him to the level he is at now, he is as fit as we can have him.”

“We just have to maintain him to that level.”

Multiple Group One winning NZB Standardbred graduate Krug (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) warmed up nicely for the New Zealand Cup with his third in the Kaikoura Cup.

The pacer surged to the lead before trailing Akuta and then finishing on well for trainers Cran and Chrissie Dalgety and driver Carter Dalgety.

Photo: HRNZ