Country Championships 2016: Bitburg passes biggest test at Rosehill

While many trainers are using the Highway handicaps as a stepping stone to the Country Championships, Matthew Dale has higher ambitions for Bitburg.

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The Canberra trainer brought the three-year-old to Rosehill on Saturday for his fourth start and the gelding delivered to keep his unbeaten record intact.

The $250,000 Inglis Sprint at Randwick on December 12 is the immediate target for Bitburg, the $4.20 favourite in the Highway Handicap (1100m).

Having his first start since August, Bitburg was put in a forward position by Jay Ford and, although his efforts began to tell near the post, he had enough in hand to beat Unknown Destiny ($31) by half a length with Danish Lace ($6.50) another short neck third.

“He still does a few things wrong but if he can win doing those things there’s something to work with,” Dale said.

“He is a very good little horse and we have the 1100-metre Inglis race in three weeks as the target.

“After that we will look at some other three-year-old races.

“This was his test today.”

Ford has ridden Bitburg in all his four starts and said he still races a little bit too keenly but is learning all the time.

“He was vulnerable today but very professional on the way to the barriers,” Ford said.

“He felt good. He was first-up and there’s plenty to come even though he still raced a bit too keen.”

Bitburg has shown his versatility with two wins on heavy tracks at Canberra and two on good surfaces at Goulburn and Rosehill.


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