On October 17, racing fans have seen a rather important update – according to Mark Purdon, a famous trainer, his three-year-old Akuta will miss the New Zealand Cup that takes place in less than a month. This allows bypassing the Ashburton Flying Stakes next week. This news may be a game-changer for many visitors of online gambling sites who have already wagered on Akuta. And now they need to find another horse for making their bets.
What is known at the moment?
Many experts believe that the Flying Stakes could be the so-called acid test for the three-year-old on the way to the New Zealand Cup. But now, Akuta will miss the stakes and attend the Kaikoura Cup instead. While Purdon doesn’t exclude the possibility of Akuta performing in the cup, the chances are rather low. He admits that the decision was rather difficult and took some time to make.
Mark Purdon thinks that the New Zealand Cup is as strong as never before and is going to be attended by many star racers, so the temptation of bringing Akuta there is no longer that strong. He believes that the Ashburton race against Self-assured and Spankem will be enough. The trainer thinks that the New Zealand Cup is very hard for Akuta and he is not yet ready for it.
The Kaikoura Cup takes place at the end of October and according to Purdon will be a simpler option for Akuta. He is only starting his way in harness racing and there is enough time to change the decision if the three-year-old shows a good performance. But as for now, the New Zealand Cup is not their main goal and the situation may change no earlier than after the Kaikoura Cup.
Additional details to keep in mind
A month ago, many experts called Akuta one of the main favourites of the Cup but Purdon left enough space to decide whether the horse is ready for such a big event or not. He believes that the Flying Stakes is still an important event for Akuta where he will face B.D. Joe, Self-Assured, Alta Wiseguy, Spankem, and Rock’n’roll Doo. The last one has already arrived in Canterbury and looks rather confident not only for the Flying Stakes but for the New Zealand Cup as well.
Another participant that can test Akuta’s skills is Majestic Cruise which was brought to New Zealand from Australia in April by Cameron Hart, his driver. Majestic came second in the Race by Grins and is now as strong as ever. At the moment, Akuta is wagered $15 for the NZ Cup, while Rock’n’roll Doo and Self-Assured are $3.40 both.
New Zealand Cup: History
The New Zealand Cup is the oldest race in the country that is held every year since 1865. It has a distance of over 3,200 meters which is the same as in other popular races – Wellington Cup, Auckland Cup, and Melbourne Cup. Recently, it has dropped from Group 1 (1978 – 1990) all way down to Group 3 (since 2009) but still remains one of the most popular sports events in the country. Here are only some of the famous winners even foreigners have heard of:
- 2011 and 2012 – Blood Brotha (also won the Wellington Cup in 2013)
- 1995 – Sapio
- 1987 – Empire Rose
- 1974 – Fury’s Order
- 1935 – Cuddle
- 1930 – Nightmarch
This year, the New Zealand Cup will take place on November 12 at Canterbury Jokey Park which offers not only high-class racing but also food, fashion, and entertainment to those who love this beautiful sport. For three days, locals and foreigners will enjoy dynamic and unexpected races that are going to be broadcasted in tens of countries worldwide.
The event you can’t miss
While the news about Mark Purdon’s decision spreads the world, Akuta fans are still not going to miss the New Zealand Cup. Some of them have already purchased the tickets and marked November 12 on their calendars. And to pass the time while waiting, you can read other news and updates by Grace Tennet, a content manager at NZ CasinoHEX. Plenty of useful guides and articles are waiting for you!