NZB Standardbred Graduates Set To Shine in The Race by Grins

13 April 2023

A highly talented trio of NZB Standardbred graduates are set to make their mark on the $1,000,000 Listed The Race by Grins (2200m) at Cambridge on Friday night.

New Zealand’s leading standardbred auction house is proud to be represented in New Zealand’s richest harness race by Akuta (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight), B D Joe (NZ) (Roll With Joe) and Nicholas Cage (NZ) (Art Major).

Akuta (NZ) winning the 2022 Group One New Zealand Derby (2600m).

Early betting markets rated Akuta at $11 odds despite the pacer’s excellent last-start third placing behind his stablemate Self Assured (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) in the $44,000 Group Two Dunstan Horsefeeds Waikato Flying Mile (1609m) at Cambridge last week.

Co-trainer Mark Purdon has warned harness racing fans that his New Zealand and Northern Derby winning pacer shouldn’t be under-rated ahead of Friday night’s feature.

“It feels like he has been underrated a bit,” the trainer-driver said.

“With the work he had to do I thought his run last week was very good.”
“And Copy That and Self Assured got a bit of a break on me while I was held up.”
“The draw isn’t ideal and I am going to have to make a move with him at some stage.”
“But he is very well and I think he can go a very good race.”

Akuta will race in the Cullen Breeding slot in The Race by Grins owner Ian Dobson, who races the star pacer with his trainer.

Dobson and Purdon acquired Akuta after he was secured by the All Stars Stable for $170,000 from breeder-vendors Paul and Pauline Renwick at the 2020 National Yearling Sale at Christchurch.

Stonewall Stud plan to give B D Joe (NZ) (Roll With Joe) his chance to dominate The Race by Grins.

Co-trainer Steve Telfer doesn’t see the point in taking a backwards step in New Zealand’s richest harness race, so he hopes to see driver Tim Williams employ positive early tactics.

“We will be telling Tim to get him off the gate as hard as he can and if he thinks he is getting across them early to keep going.”

“If that happens and he gets the front then we would probably be happy for him to stay there.”

B D Joe was purchased by Stonewall Stud for $65,000 at the 2019 National Yearling Sale in Christchurch when he was offered by breeder-vendor Brent Smith.

The pacer will be starting in the Aussie Lads slot in The Race for owners Stonewall Stud and the B D Joe Syndicate.

Nicholas Cage has been handed a tricky draw in barrier 9 in Friday night’s feature.

The pacer comes into The Race by Grins for trainers Andrew and Lynn Neal after downing Akuta and Copy That (NZ) (American Ideal) in the Group Three Lincoln Farms Founders Cup (1700m) at Alexandra Park last month.

Driver Matthew White will need to find some clear air for Nicholas Cage to show his class, with the pacer starting from barrier one on the second row.

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.

The pacer will race in the Barrett Homes slot in The Race by Grins for owners Grant Eynon, Mark McKinnon and Colin Mead.