Following in the footsteps of a Group 1-winning sibling is a very daunting task but Jeff Britton’s regally bred youngster Mepunga Cruzer is making a good fist of it after only two starts.
A September ’17 son of champion sire Barcia Bale and Adelaide Cup heroine Mepunga Nicky, Mepunga Cruzer is a younger full brother to Mepunga Blazer, which won 13 of his 25 starts, highlighted by the 2017 Group 1 Maturity Classic, before injury cut short his career.
Owned and bred by Barry Smith (pictured), Mepunga Cruzer made a winning debut in the heats of Warrnambool’s Vic Bred Maiden series, clocking 25.44s.
The blueblood then started $1.70 favourite from box six in Thursday night’s $7500 to-the-winner maiden final and continued the perfect start to his career, leading all-the-way in a best of night 25.01s, defeating litter brother and kennel mate Mepunga Doyle by 6.24 lengths.
“I was hoping he’d do that,” a delighted Jeff Britton said.
“He’s always shown me that he’s a good dog and he was a little bit underdone last week so he did what I was expecting.
“Every time I’ve trialled him he’s shown great acceleration. Whether he’ll be a strong 500m dog, I’m not sure at this stage.”
Britton also trained Mepunga Cruzer’s mother Mepunga Nicky (Premier Fantasy – Mepunga Diamond), which won 15 from 25, and it appears Barry Smith’s decision to opt for an often frowned-upon repeat mating will be rewarded.
“Barry’s not your typical breeder,” said Britton.
“It’s a proven cross so I don’t know why you wouldn’t do a repeat mating. I’ve seen it work really well in the past with dad (Allan).
“The first litter had some good dogs in it but Mepunga Blazer was a standout. Mepunga Blazer tore a back muscle in the (Group 1) Winter Cup in Brisbane last year. He could’ve come back but he had too many bitches.
“This little black dog (Mepunga Cruzer) is the standout in this litter, but Mepunga Doyle is going to be handy too and he can run 500m.
“Mepunga Cruzer is probably a bit more like the mother, with the early toe.”
WATCH: Mepunga Cruzer (6) showed plenty of dash in her maiden final win at Warrnambool last Thursday.