Racing

Bluestone bounces back for 3YO series

Trainer Brown's promising sprinter unleashes customary burst for third success

Fresh from a short break, trainer Cliff Brown's Bluestone bounced back with a withering run to take Saturday's $50,000 Class 4 Div 2 race over 1,200m.

With the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge pushed back, the Australian trainer is now in two minds - to have one more run or a break.

Originally slated between March and May, the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge has been moved to June-July.

The first leg - the Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint over 1,200m - is on June 13.

Brown's gelding by Hallowed Crown has not raced since his fifth place to star stablemate Inferno in the Group 3 Saas Fee Stakes over 1,200m for three-year-olds in November.

Brown was not too worried about Bluestone's fitness level going into his comeback race, but he did express some concerns over his lack of early pace even if he does get going in his barrier trials.

The Australian conditioner would have been on tenterhooks when Bluestone was anchored right at the back by jockey Michael Rodd from the jump.

His charge had a three-wide path as Bright Sun dictated terms upfront. The only silver lining was Bluestone had some cover in the form of Bionics three lengths ahead.

When he swung out the widest at the top of the straight, the signs which way the race would swing couldn't be more ominous.

He didn't quite ping at will, his gauche gait as Rodd endeavoured to switch him on the right leg was no doubt the cause. Once that was addressed, there was no halting his blistering acceleration.

Bluestone gathered in his rivals in the twinkling of an eye for what was in the end a soft win by one length from Romantic.

The winning time was 1min 9.96sec for the 1,200m on the Long Course C.

Bluestone firmed into $7 late, following the scratching of the well-backed Sacred Judgement at the barriers.

"I don't know what it is about this horse. On trial day, he is up on the pace but on raceday, he has no speed," said Brown.

"Today, there was too much speed on his inside, and he came back and he was too good in the end. I'll probably run him over 1,400m next.

"With the 3YO series pushed back later, I'm not sure what we'll do next. It's either one more run or a break, we'll see."

With Rodd already glued to Inferno's saddle, the plum ride on Bluestone in the 3YO series is likely to draw a long line of suitors. For now, Rodd was just happy he got to enjoy the ride on a sparring partner he described as a "beautiful horse".

"It was a messy race today. He was four to five wide with cover, but he went through his gears really well," said Rodd. "To me, he feels more like a miler because of the way he settles and finds the line. He's still got a funny bounding action, though, he keeps changing his legs.

"But he's a beautiful horse and he will win races in Singapore for a long time. I really like him, he's a nice horse going forward."

Bluestone is now the recipient of close to $120,000 in prize money from his smart record of three wins and one second from five starts for Bluestone Stable.

HORSE RACING