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Monday, 17 December, 2018

Gronkowski now heading to Newcastle in search of Kentucky Derby points

Gronkowski breezes at Newmarket on Saturday
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Jeremy Noseda has revised plans for his Kentucky Derby hope Gronkowski following confusion regarding the qualifying points system and is now aiming the colt at Good Friday's Listed 32Red Burradon Stakes.

After his Kempton win Noseda was inclined to give Gronkowski a taste of dirt racing in either the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland or  Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. However, following a reappraisal of a complicated points system for Kentucky Derby qualification he has concluded Newcastle is a much safer option.

The trainer said on Sunday: "It was always going to be three runs and then the Kentucky Derby if good enough, and now it will be a different pattern, with the third run at Newcastle.

Gronkowski: wins at Kempton

"All the races on the Kentucky Derby trail carry points, and my presumption was we could carry our European points to the Blue Grass, but it turns out we would be starting back on zero if we ran there, so instead we'll aim to build on the 20 points we already have here at Newcastle.

"If he went to America he'd probably have had to have finished first or second to get in the Kentucky Derby, so if something went wrong we'd be in trouble.

Click here to view the Burradon Stakes card

"If he wins on Good Friday, though, he's automatically in, and the truth of the matter is that if he's not good enough to win there with normal racing luck then he's not good enough to go to Kentucky."

Noseda, who plans to run Abe Lincoln in the Betway Easter Classic at Lingfield on the same day, added: "Friday will reveal all. I can't control the others in the race, but I like Gronkowski and he's approaching the race in great nick. Jamie Spencer will ride."

Gronkowski: will once again be ridden by Jamie Spencer

Gronkowski, who has won the last three of his four races, has an official mark of 101 and is among the highest-rated of 13 entries at Newcastle.

Last year's inaugural running went to the Richard Fahey-trained Forest Ranger, who was Group-placed afterwards.

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Friday will reveal all. I can't control the others in the race, but I like Gronkowski and he's approaching the race in great nick
E.W. Terms
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