Burdekin Blues waiting for Newmarket while Swiss Ace will start in Oakleigh
Burdekin Blues will miss Saturday’s Group One Oakleigh Plate Plate but fellow Queenslander Swiss Ace is a definite starter in the 1100-metre feature at Caulfield.
Burdekin Blues worked strongly in the dark on the Caulfield course proper on Tuesday but it wasn’t enough to convince Brisbane’s premier trainer Barry Baldwin the four-year-old was worth risking on the tricky track.
Melbourne jockey Craig Newitt rode Burdekin Blues in his Caulfield gallop but had some reservations about the gelding handling the track for the first time under race conditions in the Oakleigh Plate.
“Craig Newitt said his gallop was quite good but he did wobble a little on the corner,” Baldwin said.
“He wasn’t quite sure if he would handle Caulfield at this stage but he will eventually.”
Baldwin will now revert to his original plan to give Burdekin Blues his only Melbourne start down the straight six furlongs (1200m) in the Group One Newmarket Handicap at Flemington next month.
“We came down here for the Newmarket and I don’t want to upset the apple cart,” he said.
“We did the right thing with him in Sydney when he won the Expressway after we decided not to run in the Clissold Stakes.”
Baldwin is eager for Burdekin Blues to gallop on the Flemington course proper before the Newmarket Handicap on March 7.
“I’d like to give him a jumpout or a gallop at Flemington before the Newmarket and I’m trying to get in touch with the right people to see about a course proper gallop,” he said.
Jockey Larry Cassidy, who has been struggling with a finger injury, will ride Burdekin Blues in the Newmarket.
Trainer Mick Mair gave the green light for Swiss Ace to line up in the Oakleigh Plate after the sprinter worked over 600 metres shortly after Burdekin Blues’ workout.
“I couldn’t be happier with my bloke and he’ll definitely run in the Oakleigh,” Mair said.
“Ken Pope rode him and he was very pleased.
“The horse has improved a lot since the Lightning but I suspect the Newmarket Handicap is going to be more his distance.”
Swiss Ace produced a strong performance when he resumed with a solid seventh, only 2-1/2 lengths behind Perth-trained winner Scenic Blast in the Group One Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on January 31.
By Glenn Davis