Classy colts confirmed for NZ Derby
Star three-year-old pacing colts Tiger Tara and Locharburn head a list of 26 nominations for this year's New Zealand Derby.
The first two home in last week's Great Northern Derby at Alexandra Park will again lock horns in the Group I, $175,000 feature.
They will do so however without the luxury of a small field of opponents with big nominations for the Addington feature compared to the eight received at Auckland - a pleasing result for Addington Raceway officials who feared their nominations could face a similar fate.
Tiger Tara, who won both the Sires' Stakes Final on Cup Day and last week's Group I, could wrap up the coveted three-year-old pacer of the year title with a victory on April 11 - with just the Harness Jewels remaining following the Derby.
There are no doubts both horses are a lot more comfortable racing at Addington as opposed to being at Alexandra Park where they racing in a different direction, makes for a mouth watering contest.
New Zealand's leading stable of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen have six runners nominated as Purdon looks to extend his juggernaut on the premier three-year-old feature of the season.
Since winning his first Derby on Mark Roy for his father Roy and brother Barry, Purdon has played a part in a further 10 victories of which all bar one he has trained.
Il Vicolo won the race in 1994 but was at the time trained by Roy and Barry.
His, and Rasmussen's, six runners this year will be spear-headed by Isaiah, Alleluia and the progressive Aldo Rossi as he looks to shoot for his third consecutive success in the race following Fly Like An Eagle and Border Control.
Robert Dunn, who won the race back in 1991 with his grand pacer Master Musician, has four runners nominated including exciting types Joey Maguire and Cullect A Guiness, the latter of whom was an impressive winner at the trials on Tuesday.
The North Island has just three potential runners, including Barry Purdon's high-flying pair of Maxim and Sky Major as well as the unbeaten Doubleondeano who is trained by Todd Mitchell.
The next three weeks will be crucial for potential up and comers to stake their claim for a spot in the feature and up and comers like Cullect A Guinness, Free Falling and Gentle Western will be pressing hard to earn a spot.
The nominations for the 2014 New Zealand Derby: Jango Fett, Bettor Buy It, Starsky's Dream, Music, Quick As A Trick, Joey Maguire, No Doctor Needed, Return To Sender, Cullect A Guiness, Free Falling, Aldo Rossi, Bio Marinus, Alleluia, Gentle Western, Isaiah, Messini, Sky Major, Maxim, Locharburn, Cyclone Kiwi, Tiger Tara, Regulus, Naughty Maravu, New Deal, Doubleodeano, Elroy Jetson, Weedon's Express.