Otago mare Burgie (NZ) (Ghibellines) returns to the scene of her biggest win on Saturday seeking an even bigger prize.
Buoyed by the Ghibellines four-year-old’s last-start win in the ODT Southern Mile Final (1600m) at Wingatui, trainers Brian and Shane Anderton have sent Burgie north to Riccarton to tackle the Gr.3 Valachi Downs South Island Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m).
Burgie is no stranger to Riccarton success, having won the Listed Warstep Stakes (2000m) at the track last season.
“She was really impressive last start. She’s a decent mare and she ran right up to what we knew she was capable of,” Brian Anderton said.
“As the season got on last year, she just got better and better and she won the Warstep Stakes well. She has definitely improved strength-wise since then and she’s developed into an all-round lovely mare.
“She’s really well but the track is a bit of a worry. But we’ll run and find out.”
Burgie’s Southern Mile Final win was on a soft 5 track at Wingatui last start, the worst going she has won on so the heavy 9 conditions posted at Riccarton on Thursday held some trepidation for Anderton, though he was optimistic the track would dry.
“She hasn’t gone any good on soft tracks up till now but we’ve got a couple of days for that track to dry out a bit,” Anderton said.
“A lot of things didn’t go right for her at the start of her campaign and she’s had a few wide draws; she’s got another shocking draw (barrier 13) this weekend. But if it is wet, maybe that might be to her advantage on Saturday.
“Hopefully she can get midfield with cover and get her chance. It’s a good field on Saturday but we’ve had a bit of luck in that race. We won it quite a few times.”
Among the Andertons’ wins in the race are Monte Carlo (NZ) (Random Chance) in 1996, Include in 2015 (NZ) (Gallant Guru), Coulee (NZ) (Gallant Guru) in 2016 and 2017.
TAB bookmakers have Burgie as a $7 fourth favourite for Saturday’s race behind market leaders Live Drama (NZ) (Ghibellines) at $3.80, Elizabeth Rose (NZ) (Contributer) at $4 and Divine Sava (NZ) (Savabeel) at $6.50.
“She’s a lovely, economical mare and she does everything right. She’s a good eater and enjoys her work,” Anderton said.
“We’re just taking her one race at a time but it will be interesting on Saturday to see how she handles soft ground because if she doesn’t, there won’t be too many options for us from now. We’ll be a lot wiser after the race on Saturday.
“We know her ability – that’s not the worry. She’s good enough to be right alongside the best of them.”
The Andertons will also take Capo Dell Impero (NZ) (Ghibelliens) and Mayor Of Norwood (NZ) (Ghibellines) north for Saturday, confident both can run well.
“They are both in good form and are nice horses. Once again, we’re concerned about the ground but hopefully it can dry out,” Anderton said.
Meanwhile, the Andertons have farewelled promising filly Elsie May (NZ) (Time Test), who has been transferred to Australian trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace to continue her career.
“She’s been gone about three weeks now. She’ll leave a hole but we’ve freshened Inflamed and she’ll probably run in the Warstep Stakes. We’ve got a fairly good opinion of her,” Anderton said.
“We’re looking to have a top team next season. We’ve spent a lot of time educating young horses so we’re looking forward to next season.”