Burnstone stamped himself as a 2015 Blue Diamond Stakes contender when he took out the Blue Diamond Colts And Geldings Preview in impressive fashion at Sandown yesterday, but trainer Robbie Griffiths is still unsure what path that the Redoute’s Choice colt will follow to the Group 1 event at Caulfield on February 28.
Burnstone was having his first race start in the Listed Blue Diamond Colts And Geldings Preview (1000m) yesterday, but he produced the performance of a far more experienced horse to settle towards the tail of the field before storming home strongly to in the final 300 metres to record a dominant three and a half lengths win from Top Me Up and Kirabo.
Griffiths told Racing Ahead that Burnstone had always shown plenty of ability at home, but the Cranbourne-based trainer admitted that he was surprised with the impressive manner in which the two-year-old was able to start his racing career.
“It wasn’t a surprise, but because he had only had the one trial in and he had never been away from Cranbourne; I think all trainers are a little bit tentative until they see if the horse they are saddling up will do what they do at home away from home,” Griffiths said.
“He has always shown us great talent, but the Blue Diamond Prelude is a race that is full of great potential and I would have thought pre-race that some of the more experienced horses like the O’Shea horse (Mesa) that was favourite would have been the more likely winner.
“I was delighted with his performance and he has pulled up great.
“The sectionals that he ran were clearly better than every other runner and he was able to give them a head start, pick them up and then go away from them for a dominant margin of victory.
“His performance was first class.”
Griffiths said that his original plan was to run Burnstone in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) at Caulfield on February 14 ahead of the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at the same venue a fortnight later, but he revealed this morning that he was considering sending the juvenile straight into the $1 million event.
“I am going to leave that up to how he trains closer to the 14th of February when the Prelude comes around,” Griffiths said.
“He will be nominated and we will just see how he is leading into it.
“We thought pre-race that we had room to improve both fitness and with race experience away from his home track, so we always though that we would be running in the Prelude as a lead-in to the final, but now that he has won and is exempt from the ballot we are in a good position and can make up our mind closer to the race.”
Burnstone is currently available at 2015 Blue Diamond Stakes odds of $11 with Ladbrokes Australia, while Fontiton ($4.60) remains favourite from Secret Agenda ($5) and Ottoman ($9).