Nicholas Cage (NZ) Announces Open Class Arrival in Founders Cup Win
15 March 2023
The owners of breakout star Nicholas Cage (NZ) (Art Major) have a big decision to make after the pacer downed two of the biggest names in New Zealand harness racing in the Group Three $24,000 Lincoln Farms Founders Cup (1700m) at Alexandra Park on Friday night.
The Andrew and Lynn Neal trained pacer held out fellow NZB Standardbred graduate Akuta (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) and two-time New Zealand Cup champion Copy That (NZ) (American Ideal) to register his first stakes race success in just his 11th start.
Nicholas Cage was purchased for $40,000 by Eynon Farms Ltd when he was offered among the Leanach Lodge draft at the 2020 National Yearling Sales at Karaka.
Grant Eynon of Eynon Farms Ltd co-owns the pacer while also being a slot holder in the $1,000,000 The Race By Grins slot race at Cambridge next month through Barrett Homes.
After beating leading contenders and confirmed starters Akuta and Copy That, Nicholas Cage looks well worthy of lining up in New Zealand’s richest harness race. But regardless of whether he heads to Cambridge next month, the four-year-old is set to be an even bigger force in open-class races in the future. With less than a dozen starts to his name, Nicholas Cage will be even harder to beat with more experience.
“He is still lightly raced and inexperienced, he is still learning really,” driver Matthew White said.
“He has got there pretty quick, but he can certainly run the times.”
“His tractability has still got to improve but the more times he is out there, the better he will get.”
White had Nicholas Cage in front throughout after taking advantage of drawing barrier 1. From there, the pacer proved too slick for a high-quality field.
“He is hard to catch when he rolls along in front like that.”
“We were pretty happy to come up with the one draw, we were happy to use that asset and he got the job done well.”
“When I went for him, he responded well and he is just a nice horse.”
Akuta lost no admirers when runner-up behind Nicholas Cage in Friday night’s feature. The Mark and Nathan Purdon trained pacer worked around the field to sit parked before fighting on for a gritty second. Akuta is bound to strip fitter for his outing which was his first since winning the Group One New Zealand Derby in December.
The four-year-old was purchased by the All Stars Racing Stables for $170,000 from breeder-vendors Paul and Pauline Renwick at the 2020 Christchurch National Yearling Sale.