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Jason Warren is still getting a handle on what Puritan’s best distance will be but he has high hopes for the three-year-old during the autumn.

Saturday’s Group Three Manfred Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield is the planned return race for Puritan who won a barrier trial is easy fashion at Geelong on Monday.

“Our hopes are pretty high (for the autumn),” Warren said.

“I think he’s a high-level horse and we don’t really know what his pet distance is going to be yet.

“We’ll kick off in the Manfred and he’ll probably run two or three weeks later in a 1400-metre race if he runs well on Saturday.

“Then we’ll make a better plan from there.”

Puritan is nominated for the Australian Guineas (1600m) and also the Newmarket Handicap (1200m).

“He’ll have to run very well on Saturday to think either of those are an option, but I can’t see why at this stage we could rule out either of those races,” Warren said.

“I don’t really know what his right trip is going to be.”

The Manfred Stakes has attracted 20 nominations with a field limit of 16 plus emergencies and with Puritan 19th in the order of entry, he will need some defections.

Lizard Island and Ready For Victory, who finished second and third respectively to Press Statement in the Caulfield Guineas last preparation, are among the entries as are Caulfield Guineas Prelude winner Bon Aurum, Bill Stutt Stakes winner Sovereign Nation and the Darren Weir-trained Listed winner Palentino.

Warren said he would have preferred to have trialled Puritan last week instead of five days before the Manfred, but was impressed by the the way he ran.

“It was more about the way the horse pulled up and his recovery was excellent,” Warren said.

“He was only there for a soft trial and Nick Hall, who will ride him on Saturday, got to get a feel for the horse.”

Puritan started his racing career with a last-to-first win at Pakenham on the synthetic track in a maiden on August 30 before finishing fourth in the Danehill Stakes at Flemington at his second start.

He finished 10th at his only other start in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude.

“He’s got a brilliant turn of foot,” Warren said.

“He’s got a bit of the X-factor.”

 
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