Epic Clash of Star Three-Year-Olds Anticipated
12 February 2022
A clash of harness racing titans awaits Australasian harness racing fans in the $200,000 Listed Harness Million 3YO Colts & Geldings Pace (2200m) at Alexandra Park on Saturday night.
After first squaring off last week, star pacers Akuta (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) and Franco Indie (NZ) (Always B Miki) will again go head-to-head to contest New Zealand’s leading three-year-old title when they start among an outstanding line up of NZB Standardbred graduates.
Both pacers represent the Mark Purdon and Hayden Cullen stable with Franco Indie knocked down to the Alabar and Nevele R Stud at the 2020 Christchurch National Yearling Sale for $35,000 when offered by Spreydon Lodge.
Akuta was sold to the All Stars Racing Stable for $170,000 when offered from the Broadfield Lodge draft at the same NZB Standardbred Sale.
Both brilliant pacers have taken very different paths to stardom which has only added more intrigue to their mouth-watering clash in Saturday’s Harness Million final.
Akuta was a dominant force as a two-year-old, completing an epic hat-trick of black type wins with dominant victories in the $200,000 Listed Harness Million 2YO Colts & Geldings Pace (1980m), $140,000 Group One 2YO Sires Stakes Colts & Geldings Pace (1980m) and the $100,000 Group One Harness Jewels 2YO Emerald (1609m).
After producing strong two-year-old form, Franco Indie has continued to excel, leading to his dominant win in the $156,000 Group One Sires Stakes Series Final on New Zealand Cup Day.
Last week the star pairing chased home their New Zealand Cup-winning stablemate Self Assured (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) in what was a warmup for this week’s lucrative feature.
Franco Indie took honours on that occasion and has an early advantage after drawing perfectly in Barrier 2 on Saturday night.
“They have both taken very different paths,” Mark Purdon said.
“If he was able to draw well he could definitely win it Franco Indie, he is a very good horse.
“His last run was very good and I have been happy with him since then.”
Akuta just needs a slice of luck from his Barrier 9 draw to show his undoubted class and set up an epic battle with Franco Indie.
“I was happy with the way he handled the track last week which will help him,” Purdon said.
“His work has been very good, too.”
The Steve and Amanda Telfer trained Chimichurri (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) and the Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan trained Major Perry (NZ) (Art Major) are among the biggest threat to the All Stars runners on Saturday night.
The $200,000 Listed Harness Million 3YO Colts & Geldings Pace (2200m) will be run as Race 5 at 9:48PM (NZT) on Saturday 12 February at Alexandra Park.
Harness Million 3YO Colts & Geldings Field
|1||Franco Mac (NZ)||Olivia Thornley(J)||Hayden Cullen||2020 Christchurch Yearling Sale, $60,000||All Stars Racing Stables||Spreydon Lodge|
|2||Republican Party (NZ)||Cran & Chrissie Dalgety||2020 Christchurch Yearling Sale, $210,000||Cran Dalgety||Price Bloodstock|
|3||Montana DJ (NZ)||Zachary Butcher||Barry Purdon & Scott Phelan||2020 Christchurch Yearling Sale, $175,000||Montana Park||J. L. Smolenski|
|4||Smart Watch (NZ) (E2)||Phil Burrows||2020 Christchurch Yearling Sale, $38,000||Mr NR McGrath||Broadfield Lodge|
|5||Ajira (NZ) (E1)||Cran & Chrissie Dalgety||2020 Christchurch Yearling Sale, $80,000||Cran Dalgety||Broadfield Lodge|
|6||Akuta (NZ)||Hayden Cullen||2020 Christchurch Yearling Sale, $170,000||All Stars Racing Stables||Broadfield Lodge|
|7||Cantfindabettorman (NZ)||Matthew Williamson||Graeme Anderson & Mike Love||2020 Auckland Yearling Sale, $41,000||Mr GJ Anderson||Woodlands Stud|
|8||Willow Bay (NZ)||Natalie Rasmussen||Hayden Cullen||2020 Auckland Yearling Sale, $55,000||Breckon Farms||Breckon Farms|
|9||Bollinger (NZ)||Jonny Cox||Hayden Cullen||2019 All Age Sale, Passed, 2020 Auckland Yearling Sale, $200,000||Mrs J L Feiss||Georgia Brooke Lodge|
|10||Major Perry (NZ)||Scott Phelan||Barry Purdon & Scott Phelan||2020 Christchurch Yearling Sale, $160,000||Barry Purdon||Broadfield Lodge|
|11||Cosmic Major (NZ)||Hayden Cullen||2020 Auckland Yearling Sale, $37,500||PI & GJ Kennard Bloodstock||Breckon Farms|
|12||Chimichurri (NZ)||David Butcher||Michael House||2020 Auckland Yearling Sale, $40,000||Stonewall Stud||Woodlands Stud|
|13||Strength And Honour (NZ)||Brent Mangos||Brent Mangos||2020 Christchurch Yealring Sale, $150,000||PI & GJ Kennard Bloodstock||Braeview|
|14||Always Have Faith (NZ)||Hayden Cullen||2020 Auckland Yearling Sale, $55,000||All Stars Racing Stables||Tardina Stud|
|15||My Ultimate Chevron (NZ)||Gavin Smith||Gavin Smith||2019 Auckland All Age Sale, $13,000, 2020 Christchurch Yearling Sale, $27,500||Lake Bruner Syndicate, Tumby Park||L. F. Daly|