15 February 2018

Burridge convinced Dalgety can defy sprinting genes

Current leading trainer Steven Burridge is sitting out the Group 3 Fortune Bowl (1400m) on Saturday, but still hopes for his own fortunes to stay on the rise this weekend with his big team of runners led by impressive last-start winner Dalgety.

The 2010 Singapore champion trainer has been in white-hot form since the new 2018 season got underway. He has saddled 11 winners thus far, and sits three clear of reigning champion trainer Mark Walker.

Whether he will still be perched atop for another 10 months remains to be seen. Burridge is just taking each week as it comes, with its share of hits and mishits, while striving to stay in front.

Burridge actually had designs on the Fortune Bowl with two horses, but law of attrition kicked in.

“I was looking at running Eclipse Splash and Hermano Menor in the Fortune Bowl, but unfortunately, they both had setbacks after their last runs,” said the Australian handler.

“Eclipse Splash hurt his tendon, and is on the mend, fingers crossed, he will be okay. He’s a horse who is top-heavy and because of the way he runs, he hits the ground hard.

“He will just need to rest while Hermano Menor has pulled up scratchy after his last run.

“That’s the way it is, but overall, I can’t complain with the way things are going at the moment. Horses are running well, and we just have to keep turning them over.

“There are a couple of new horses on the way, and some who’ve gone up to Malaysia. For now, we’re just going with the flow, and it’s been a pretty good flow so far.”

However, one wave which Burridge nearly missed if not for a closer look is Dalgety and his headgear of choice.

The Melbourne one-time winner (1400m), who runs in the $80,000 Class 3 race over 2000m on Sunday, raced with visors back in Australia, but Burridge mistook them for blinkers when he viewed the TV replays of the formerly David Brideoake-trained gelding.

“It’s funny. I really thought they were blinkers because they didn’t have that cut on the side of the cups,” he said.

“I don’t know whether that was the reason why he ran poorly at his first run here, but when we put the visors on at his second start, he was a different horse.”

A little outpaced early in the Class 4 Non Premier race over the mile on January 23, the Domesday four-year-old suddenly found a split as the field fanned across before careering away to an emphatic four-and-a-half-length win for jockey Glen Boss.

“It’s also true the field was weaker at his second start, but I think he was always looking for more distance as well,” said Burridge.

“It’s quite unusual though as he’s by Domesday who was a sprinter. His dam side does not have any staying genes either as she’s (Tin Pan) a Commands mare who won up to 1600m.

“He’s not very heavy, which is good for the tracks here. This is his first time over 2000m as he’s only had four starts back home and up to a mile; I hope he can run the distance.”

Burridge did indicate after his last win that the Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby (1800m), the third Leg of the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge could be a conceivable target for the horse purchased by his son Wade for the Lucky Stable, but he would have to earn his stripes first.

“This race will tell us where he is at, and we can then plan his races accordingly,” he said.

To be ridden by Boss again, Dalgety whose ratings were hiked from 61 to 70 points after his last win, will carry 56.5kgs and jumps from the widest gate in the eight-horse field on Sunday.