Consistent galloper Burbero has been set for the 2015 Epsom Handicap after he recorded a fast-finishing victory in the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Burbero was settled at the tail of the field in the early stages of the Missile Stakes while stablemate Zaratone took up the running from Messene and the well-backed Temple Of Boom.
Zaratone kicked away at the top of the straight and he looked like trainer Bjorn Baker’s best chance to take out the Missile Stakes, but Burbero responded extremely well when he was asked for an extra effort at the 300 metre mark and he finished over the top of Zaratone and Temple Of Boom to record a thrilling win over Weary.
Baker admitted after the race that he didn’t even notice Burbero flying into the race until the concluding stages due to the attention he was paying to tough veteran Zaratone, but he was clearly thrilled with the performance of the O’Reilly gelding and he believes that he will be even better over more ground as he works towards the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 3.
“I actually didn’t even see Burbero until the last 10 metres,” Baker told the media after the race.
“I was actually watching Zaratone because it looked like he would hold on for a long way and gee he came quick at the end.”
“His record shows he is better on top of the ground and 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.”
Rory Hutchings was only given the chance to ride Burbero in the Missile Stakes after regular jockey Brodie Loy fractured his left elbow in a race fall at Warwick Farm last week, but he timed his run perfectly to score his first ever win at Group level.
Hutchings revealed that Burbero had struggled to keep up with the rest of the field at the start of the Group 2 event, but he was thrilled with the acceleration that Burbero scored in the final stages of the Missile Stakes.
“I didn’t think it would happen this quickly and I was lucky because I only got the ride because of Brodie’s fall,” Hutchings said.
“I had to come through them.
“He was always travelling but just couldn’t keep up but when I went for him he just took off.
“When I got to Temple Of Boom he wanted to lay in for a stride or two but once he saw Weary you could feel him lift.”
Burbero has now recorded 13 wins from his 39 race starts and has accumulated almost $700,000 in prizemoney.