Burning Crown looks beyond Country Championship


“Everyone asks about the Country Championships but every time I have set one for it something has gone wrong, so I’m not going to worry about it with him.

“It is very tough to win the heat in our area, so you have to them ready on that day and then peak again for the final.”

Burning Crown will probably go for a break after Saturday and with the dry, firm training tracks taking their toll Grills is wary of pushing on into the summer.

“It is so dry here that training them is hard because the tracks are so firm,” Grills said. “He is a very good sprinter, probably in the same vein as Border Rebel, so we will look after him.

“It has been very hard to get him to show [his potential]. He has a lot of speed from the gates and getting jockeys not to overuse it has been a problem.

“He is a horse you need to go with and not fight. It is a bit of balancing act, so he can have a kick in the straight.

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“Jason [Collett] did it really well at Newcastle and Rory [Hutchings] did the same at Coonabarabran.”

Burning Crown has always promised to rise through the grades but his last two wins have finally delivered on the potential. He ran a 1200m track record at Coonabarabran before being a fraction off the record mark for the 1200m at Newcastle and has been made a $2.30 favourite to continue the winning roll.

He is still down the benchmark rating, so Grills is thinking about letting Burning Crown win his way through to open class before testing him at stakes level.

“Now we are getting him ridden right, he has some fight left at the end of his races. Instead of overdoing it early and overracing, he is finding the line,” Grills said. “The key has been getting him to relax, which is hard on race day.

“He is very quiet at home but once it comes to race day he fires up and that has been a problem in the past.

“He is a different horse when he relaxes and he could be up to winning some of the races that Border Rebel won next year.”

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