Bjorn Baker’s veteran sprinter – miler Burbero scored a narrow win in the opening Group race of the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival at Randwick over the weekend beating home a top field in the Missile Stakes 2015.
A final field of eight faced off in this year’s $175,000 Group 2 McGrath Estate Agents Missile Stakes (1200m) including Baker’s O’Reilly seven-year-old Burbero ($11) who was second-up for the season.
Winner of the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill in mid-March before two unplaced runs later in the autumn, Burbero kicked off his latest campaign on July 25 running second to Brook Road in the wet at Canterbury.
On Saturday he appreciated a firm Randwick track and the step up to 1200m with apprentice Rory Hutchings, replacing the injured Brodie Loy in the saddle, guiding the galloper to a half-neck win over the fast finishing Chris Waller-trained French import Weary ($4.60) after working his way from the back of the field.
In third a length off the double-figure winner was then the Tony Gollan-trained race favourite, Group 1 winning Brisbane galloper Temple Of Boom ($2.90) who was also brave in defeat.
“I was watching Zaratone the whole way down the straight, I took my eyes of Burbero because I thought he was going to run eighth and there was only eight in it,” Baker told the media post-win on Saturday.
“He looks like a fuzzy little teddy bear at the moment he’s got a long kiwi woollen coat and if you looked at him in the parade ring you couldn’t have him.”
This spring Burbero tracks towards an elite level run over the Randwick mile with Baker looking at the $1 million Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) on October 3.
The horse was tested in Group 1 company during the autumn over 1500m at Rosehill when sixth, beaten two and a half lengths by the Japan-trained Real Impact in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes, a run Baker was more than happy with.
“His record shows he is better on top of the ground,” Baker said.
“It is a good sign that he is doing that over that trip.
“The Epsom has always been the plan and we just have to work out how to get there.
“He is the sort of horse that is going to relax and hit the line like that and I think he can measure up to a race like the Epsom. I have to say I thought Zaratone did a great job as well.”
A $26 chance in betting, 10-year-old Zaratone raced like a horse half his age when heading the field early before getting run down late and eventually holding for a brave fourth beaten only one and a quarter lengths by his winning stablemate.
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2015 Missile Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Randwick Race 6 – 08/08/2015
|1||4||BURBERO (NZ)||Bjorn Baker||Rory Hutchings (a)||–||6||58.5kg||$11|
|2||1||WEARY (FR)||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||0.2L||8||58.5kg||$4.60|
|3||3||TEMPLE OF BOOM||Tony Gollan||Ms Winona Costin (a)||1L||2||58.5kg||$2.90F|
|4||6||ZARATONE||Bjorn Baker||Ms Kathy O’Hara||1.3L||4||58.5kg||$26|
|5||2||MESSENE||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Tommy Berry||1.6L||3||58.5kg||$6.50|
|6||8||LORD LEOFRIC||David Pfieffer||Tye Angland||5.6L||7||58.5kg||$7|
|7||7||SEE THE WORLD||Joseph Pride||Christian Reith||7.2L||1||58.5kg||$21|
|8||9||LIBERTY’S CHOICE||Gai Waterhouse||Nash Rawiller||8.4L||5||58.5kg||$8|
|–||5||AOMEN (IRE)||Anthony Cummings||Brenton Avdulla||–||0||–||–|