Mornington trainer Jason Warren believes his up-and-comer Puritan is a genuine hope in a below-average edition of the Caulfield Guineas 2015 in Melbourne this year with the three-year-old to put his claims on the line for the Group 1 this weekend.
Lightly-raced Beneteau gelding Purtian has had just the two starts to date and lines up under race conditions for the third time this weekend at Caulfield Racecourse on Underwood Stakes Day in the $175,000 Group 3 BECK Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m).
On Monday 27 three-year-old colts and geldings were nominated for the Prelude that has produced four of the past six winners of the $1 million Group 1 BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) run this year on Saturday October 10.
The last Caulfield Guineas winner to come out of the Prelude was the Peter Snowden-trained Long John (2013) who ran third in the lead-up two years ago.
This year Warren is hoping the step up to the 1400m in Saturday’s showdown will see Purtian prove he is capable of being competitive at that level over more distance following his win on debut over 1100m at Pakenham on the synthetic back on August 30 and this his first black type assignment a fortnight ago.
On September 12 the galloper stepped right up in class at Flemington in the Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) and finished a credible fourth beaten under four lengths by Kinglike with Jake Noonan in the saddle.
“I think 1400 metres is going to be his right distance but we will see on Saturday,” Warren told Racenet.
“I’m really happy with him, he’s improving all the time.
“He didn’t know what he was doing first start, he didn’t handle the Polytrack and the other day, I don’t think he really handled the straight.
“Back around a bend and out to 1400 metres will suit, the horse is flying.”
Warren and connections paid the second acceptance fee to keep Puritan in the Caulfield Guineas mix this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, a total of 48 second declarations taken, and without a genuine standout he believes his horse more than capable of giving the top fancies a run for their money over the mile.
“The Caulfield Guineas is the goal and I don’t see this shaping as a vintage year. I think my horse is top class and I don’t see why he can’t get to a Guineas,” he said.
“The thing is we will know if he’s going to run a mile after Saturday. If we have any doubts at the trip then we can freshen him and aim at the Blue Sapphire.”
The $350,000 Listed Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) runs at Caulfield on Wednesday October 14 leading up to Caulfield Cup Day that Saturday.
For Saturday and into the Guineas should the horse back-up in the elite level, Warren is happy to keep Noonan in the saddle.
“He knows the horse and works very hard. It’s nice to give him the ride in a good race,” he said.
Futures Caulfield Guineas odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are firmly led by the Chris Waller-trained JJ Atkins winner Press Statement ($3.60) from Sydney and Mick Price’s last start Danehill Stakes third placed More Than Ready colt Ready For Victory ($4) who are both also set to face off in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude on the weekend.
Puritan is also within the top half of the all-in Caulfield Guineas betting markets paying $15 for the win, an equal price with the likes of Ciaron Maher-trained Exford Plate winner Bon Aurum and nicely-bred Starspangledbanner colt Mr Individual.
Stay tuned for the official Caulfield Guineas Prelude field due out later today.
In the meantime check out the latest futures odds on the upcoming Group 1s at Ladbrokes.com.au where by quoting the limited time only code SPRINGBONUS you’ll be rewarded with up to $700 in bonus bets on the house!