No 2016 Australian Guineas for Puritan

Mornington horseman Jason Warren might be confident his Manfred Stakes winner Puritan will get a mile later this campaign, but he is planning to bypass Melbourne’s Australian Guineas 2016 Saturday week and save the three-year-old for a Sydney Group 1 bid instead.


Manfred Stakes winner Puritan is eyeing a Group 1 target in Sydney this autumn and will bypass Flemington’s Australian Guineas on March 5. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos.

To date the Beneteau gelding has had the four starts for two wins, his latest a narrow first-up effort as a $17 outsider in betting for Caulfield’s Group 3 Manfred Stakes (1200m).

That was a nice improvement off his last start in the spring back in September when 14th to Bon Aurum in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m).

That was the up-and-comer’s only run over further than 1200m, and while it was a disappointing effort, Warren believes Puritan can step up over 1400m and 1600m as he progresses through the autumn.

The youngster is a three-time nominee across the Caulfield race card for Blue Diamond Stakes Day on Saturday including in the $500,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) and $500,000 Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m).

Warren though plans to accept for an easier second-up assignment in the $150,000 Group 3 Ladbrokes Zeditave Stakes (1200m) for three-year-old colts and geldings.

Puritan runs in the Zeditave over the sprint distance instead of being saved for a shot at the $750,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 5, which jockey Nick Hall told Warren the horse wasn’t quite ready for after riding him in the Manfred.

“We’ve decided to keep him to 1200m because he’s just a little bit raw still – a horse with really good ability but not quite ready to step out to 1400m,” Warren told Racing Victoria.

“So we’ve given him the extra week to go three weeks between runs.

“Though I think the horse will get a mile, he’s just not quite ready to be stretched out.”

From there plans are to head interstate for a shot at a bigger race during the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.

“I really do want to have a shot at a Group 1 with him,” Warren added.

“He’s not quite ready for that (now), whether we do that in Sydney – that’s probably where we’ll end up.”

Possible elite level Sydney options for Puritan include the $1 million Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on Golden Slipper Stakes Day, March 19, and the $600,000 Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on April 16 after ‘The Championships’.

Puritan’s stablemate Zasorceress is also Sydney-bound, the Zabeel filly heading towards the $1 million Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on Sydney Cup Day, April 9.

She is nominated for the $200,000 Group 2 Angus Armanasco Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on the weekend having run fourth in her three previous career runs to date.

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