Jason Warren was understandably thrilled with Puritan’s performance for success in the Group 3 Manfred Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday and has revealed a bold plan to saddle the three-year-old as a light weight chance in the 2016 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington in March.
Jumping from the gates well, jockey Nick Hall allowed Puritan to stride forward and take a position on the heels of the Manfred Stakes’ early leaders, receiving a good run in transit at a fair tempo.
Immediately responding when asked for an extra effort in the final straight, the Beneteau gelding pressed forward and locked in a fierce sprint battle with Golden Spin; bobbing a head clear to post only his second race win and first at black type level.
Pleased with the condition of the gelding in the lead-up to his competitive return, Warren told Racing Ahead there are several options on the table for Puritan this time, but he is confident he is an out-and-out sprinter.
“We couldn’t really give our horse a big push to everyone as far as thinking we could roll them, but we knew our horse would run well,” Warren said.
“We’ve always thought he was top level and we could only hope that he would roll them, like he did.
“What a lot of people didn’t know with this horse is he was a problem to load into the barriers. He was an angel once he was in, but just wouldn’t walk in. He now wears a blindfold when he walks in and we just take it off and from there it’s full steam ahead.
“To be honest we’re still yet to decide on which way to go. We’re a bit reluctant to go up in trip at this stage.
“I’m leaning towards wanting to give the horse three weeks between his first-up run and second-up run.
“So at this stage we’re leading towards running him in the Zeditave in three weeks’ time which is another Group 3 at Caulfield which will probably be a bit weaker of a race than the one he ran in Saturday.
“He did run very well down the straight and he was a bit unlucky that day, so I reckon with clear running and a light weight he’d be a sneaky chance (in the Newmarket Handicap), the way he’s going.”
Puritan debuted to racing in spring for success in the Growmaster Sale Maiden Plate (1100m); progressing to fourth in the Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) but returned to the paddock after failing to figure in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m).
Puritan is currently available at 2016 Newmarket Handicap odds of $34 for success with leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au.