Stellar Derby clash on the back burner

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    CHASE AUCKLAND - Photo Race Images

    THOSE excited by the prospect of a clash between Australia’s and New Zealand’s best three-year-olds will have to wait.

    While unbeaten local Lumineer is being primed for the Victoria Derby, his Kiwi counterpart – Chase Auckland – will bypass the January 27 feature.

    Successful at his six starts, including last season’s Australian Pacing Gold Final, Lumineer will continue his trek towards the Blue Riband when he heads to Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night.

    Although the draw is yet to be released, the Ange McDowall-trained son of Sportswriter is predicted to be a short-priced favourite in the VHRSC Classic.

    Having battled hard to maintain his perfect record on New Year’s Eve, Chase Auckland has been sent for a spell by co-trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen.

    Driven by Rasmussen, Chase Auckland scored by a neck from his determined stablemate All U Need Is Faith, with Spankem rounding out a stable trifecta when two lengths away third.

    The son of Auckland Reactor is undefeated from seven starts.

    “He has come a long way in a short time and his last couple of runs have been tough,” Purdon said. “He will benefit from a break, which means he won’t be going over for the Victoria Derby.

    “We will set him for the Auckland Derby in March.”

    Purdon and Rasmussen still plan on tackling Australia’s oldest classic, with Spankem and Ashley Locaz set to make the trip to Victoria.

    Also triumphant on New Year’s Eve, Ashley Locaz has four wins and four seconds from 12 starts.

    • PAUL COURTS

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