Common Purpose at the Country-city crossroads
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Common Purpose at the Country-city crossroads

Goulburn trainer John Bateman is leaving a Country Championships start for Common Purpose in the hands of the gods.

The equation is a simple one – if the five-year-old, who has won five of his 12 starts, wins the Inglis Country Highway (1300m) at Warwick Farm today, he’s ineligible to contest the Championships.

Riding with purpose: Hugh Bowman (far left) boots home Common Purpose in the Tab Highway Handicap at Rosehill last August.

Riding with purpose: Hugh Bowman (far left) boots home Common Purpose in the Tab Highway Handicap at Rosehill last August. Credit:AAP

Bateman said Common Purpose’s first-up win at Canterbury came as a bit of a surprise but when he did win there was no thought of deviating from the plan to contest today’s race second-up.

“We haven’t swayed, if he happens to win we’ll have to find a race for him in the city,’’ Bateman said. “The owners will take a win, especially if it is in town, any day of the week.

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“I had (Canterbury) earmarked for him first-up, not thinking he could win it because they’d be a bit sharp for him around Canterbury, then this race. He was probably about 80 per cent, there was a fair bit of improvement in him.’’

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Common Purpose is the early favourite to win himself out of Country Championships contention.

He’s on the third line of betting at in the pre-post Country Championships markets behind Noble Boy, who made it four wins from four starts at Warwick Farm last Saturday.

The gelding was strong at the finish of the 1100m first-up, running the fastest last 200m of 11.87 (Punters Intelligence), and Bateman said the victory bought the horse on significantly.

“We have barrier one and Hugh Bowman, there’s plenty of pluses,’’ he said. “On Saturday the inside was off a little bit, he doesn’t handle the wet too good and he doesn’t like it chopped up. He travels well in his races, he has led and won and has sat in behind them and won. He’s in with a chance and hopefully we either win or run second.’’

If Common Purpose doesn’t win at Warwick Farm, he’ll face off with Noble Boy in the SERA Country Championships Qualifier (1400m) at Goulburn on March 2.

Supplied by Racing NSW

Go to racingnsw.com.au for full fields and form.

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