Coniston Bluebird headed to New Zealand

Instead of being gelded this week, promising stayer Coniston Bluebird will be nominated for the New Zealand Derby.

BedeMurray Trainer Bede Murray admitted he had given serious thought to having the colt gelded but changed his mind immediately after he won over 1500 metres at Rosehill on Saturday.

"If he hadn’t won he would have been gelded in Monday," Murray said.

"That’s out now and the New Zealand Derby is in as an option for him.

"It’s a $2 million race and will be during the off season for a lot of our horses but should suit this bloke."

The New Zealand Derby (2400m) is at Ellerslie on February 28. It was won this year by C’est La Guerre who finished third in the Melbourne Cup.

Adding to Murray’s desire to keep Coniston Bluebird as a colt is the fact the Melbourne Cup winner Viewed is by the same sire, Scenic, who also produced Murray’s 2001 AJC Australian Derby winner Universal Prince.

Scenic died prematurely and his place at West Australian stud Durham Lodge has been taken by Universal Prince whose oldest progeny are three-year-olds, several of which Murray trains.

The Rosehill win was Coniston Bluebird’s second from 11 starts with punters supporting him heavily from $3.70 to $2.80 based on his recent consistent efforts.

Two starts previously he finished 1-1/2 lengths third in a 1600m race at Randwick in which subsequent Flemington winner Palacio De Cristal was fourth.

He then ran sixth against older horses, again beaten only 1-1/2 lengths. over 1400 metres at Rosehill in a race won by Rock Kingdom with Jedburgh third.

The David Hayes-trained Jedburgh stamped that as a form race with his win on Saturday’s Rosehill program.

"I thought about taking him to Melbourne for the Sandown Guineas but decided to keep him in Sydney," Murray said.

"The autumn will be his time. I never intended to go further in distance with him this spring.

"He will go back to my farm on the south coast and I’ll just keep him ticking over."
By Caryl Williamson