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Dual Group 1 winner confirmed for SE Oaks

By Duane Ranger

Racing Queensland’s decision this week to elevate both the South East Oaks and South East Derby to Group 2 Status - with $50,000 purses - has convinced one of New Zealand’s top trainers to compete at Albion Park in July.

The Cran Dalgety and Nathan Purdon-trained Dr Susan will contest the South East Oaks on July 11, and depending on how she fairrs against her own sex, the Bettor’s Delight filly could line up against the best three-year-old colts and geldings a week later in the South East Derby.

Both races will be sponsored by Garrards  Horse And Hound.

“I didn’t realise the status and stakes had increased, that makes it more luring,” Dalgety said.

“I’d love to come over and watch our horse race with my wife Chrissie, who owns and bred her.

“At this stage I’d say Nathan will bring her up from Sydney, where she’s currently based.

“Regular pilot Anthony Butt is likely come up and drive him,” pending inter-state travel restrictions.

The addition of Dr Susan will add a lot of depth to the South East Oaks.

The talented brown filly has won eight of her 23 starts and placed in 13 others for $246,883.

Her two biggest victories to date have both come in Australia.

On January 25 this year, Dr Susan and Butt downed Stylish Memphis and Mark Purdon to win the Group 1 $85,000 Victoria Oaks Final at Tabcorp Park Melton.

Then on March 28 she was too smart in the Group 1 $150,000 Golden Bracelet Final at Bathurst.  

The filly has also won a Group 2 event – the Raith Memorial at Tabcorp Menangle on January 11 - and placed in a Group 3 (Golden Easter Egg), also at Tabcorp Park Menangle at her last start on April 18.

“We have met the interstate nomination deadline, and it makes sense for her to compete for good money in warm conditions which should suit her,” Dalgety said.

DR SUSAN NZ

“She will be the only horse that we campaign up there this time, but the way Racing Queensland is progressing, we will come back again if we like it.”

Dr Susan, who made her race-day debut with a third at Alexandra Park in Auckland on January 18 last year, raced six times in New Zealand for four placings, before being exported to Australia on January 1 of this year.

“She’s a quality pacer, who should go okay around the Albion Park circuit,” Dalgety said.

“The 2,138m mobile should suit her, we might as well have a go since she’s over there.

“It’s time to spread our wings and try and bounce back from COVID-19; thankfully we have still been able to train our team on our property, but we have all gone a bit stir crazy all the same.

“We are slowly getting back into the rhythm now that harness racing is slowly making its comeback here, I couldn’t think of a better and warmer place to race in July.”

Albion Park has been a relatively happy hunting ground for Dalgety, the 44-win double millionaire he trained, Christian Me, placed in the Group 3 Wondais Mate and Group 2 Sunshine Sprint in July 2016.

But it’s been more memorable for Dalgety’s training partner, Purdon, and driver, Butt.

The now 24-year-old Purdon trained and drove his first Group 1 winner at Albion Park when Ohoka Punter won the 2016 $200,000 Blacks A Fake.

“I’m looking forward to getting back there; by all reports the horse seems good so hopefully we can get her there and get settled in soon,” Purdon said.

Butt said he also enjoyed competing in Queensland.

“I enjoy racing up there, I remember my first trip to Australia was in 1984 when I drove in the Junior Driving Championships at Redcliffe,” he said.

“It’s always enjoyable driving in warmer conditions in winter, my brother Tim won the Blacks A Fake a couple of years ago with Let it Ride.

“I like Queensland.”

All interstate horses and participants looking to attend this year’s feature races are reminded of the current interstate transport protocols in place - for more details on the protocols click here.