The Freedman brothers have continued their affinity with the progeny of first season sire Extreme Choice, producing Stay Inside for a powerhouse debut win at Randwick.
The colt was just the second juvenile Michael and Richard Freedman have saddled up in Sydney this season and both have won.
Tiger Of Malay, also by Extreme Choice, took out the Kirkham Plate for the stable in October.
Michael Freedman said it was a pity Extreme Choice had fertility issues, producing just 48 live foals from his first crop, as his progeny had shown good ability.
“I wish they were making a few more of them. We’ve had two two-year-olds to the races this season and they’e both horses by Extreme Choice,” Freedman said.
“With Tiger Of Malay and this bloke, and we’ve got another couple at home, they’ve all got great actions so it’s just a shame he’s not as fertile as we’d all like.”
Stay Inside showed early speed to camp off the leading pair before pouncing in the straight.
When Robbie Dolan asked for a supreme effort inside the final furlong, Stay Inside ($7) accelerated clear to put 2-3/4 lengths on Headliner ($5.50) with Ashema ($3.30 favourite) another half-head away.
Freedman said he had expected a competitive performance but was surprised the colt showed such dominance.
“We’ve always had a decent opinion of him. He probably hasn’t been totally obvious but he’s one of those two-year-olds that the longer he’s been in work the better he has gone,” Freedman said.
“He’s in at the right time of year now and if he comes through today alright then we’ll maybe aim a bit higher with him.
“He is very professional too. He hardly turned a hair here today which is always a good sign with these young colts particularly.”
A $200,000 Magic Millions purchase, Stay Inside immediately firmed with TAB fixed odds from $101 to $26 for the Blue Diamond and Golden Slipper.
Tony Gollan believes in-form sprinter Garibaldi is poised to finally end a track hoodoo at Doomben.
Garibaldi has been unsuccessful in six previous attempts at Doomben but Gollan believes that form anomaly will be rectified after Saturday’s Sky Racing Plate (1200m).
“He’s in great shape and I think he can overcome the hoodoo,” Gollan said.
“We identified this race after his last win. He’s had a jump out in between and was very good in that.
“His trackwork since has been awesome.”
When acceptances were taken, Garibaldi drew barrier nine but his task has been made slightly easier with the scratchings of two runners drawn to his inside.
Gollan is hoping jockey Michael Rodd can find a position without covering extra ground before launching his finishing run.
“Michael has to try and get him in with a bit of cover somewhere midfield or worse,” Gollan said.
“The barrier might be the only tricky thing but he’ll hit the line very hard.
“He’s the best horse in the race and all he needs is even luck.”
Gollan believes it is no coincidence Garibaldi is racing in career-best form since being gelded.
“His three runs as a gelding have been fantastic,” he said.
“He’s a different horse now since being gelded. Just totally forget about his previous record.
“This is a deep class three race but that’s just the high standard of horses that race on a Saturday in Brisbane.”
Gollan is also confident talented filly Bleu Zebra can handle her first attempt at 1200 metres in the Kirin Handicap.
“I don’t think 1200 metres will bother her,” he said.
“She’s starting to relax better and really get into her groove in races.
“If she can continue to take that improvement into Saturday there’s no reason why she won’t relax mid-race.
“Georgina (Cartwright) will just work with her to make sure she gets into a good rhythm.”
Bleu Zebra is a $3.40 favourite with TAB fixed odds while Garibaldi dominates pre-post betting on his race at $2.30.
After a Magic Millions carnival he would rather forget, John Sargent is hoping for better luck at Randwick when juvenile filly Perfect Darling lines up for her first start.
Sargent had high hopes for Ballarat Clockwise Classic winner Readily Availabull in last weekend’s $2 million Magic Millions Classic but the horse was scratched when he failed to recover in time from a stone bruise.
The experienced trainer took the setback in his stride and is already looking to his next move with the talented youngster, who he hopes can qualify for the Golden Slipper.
“He’s good as gold now,” Sargent said.
“It’s just a shame it happened on that weekend but that’s racing, isn’t it.”
“He will probably trial in ten days then go to the races after that.”
Home-bred Perfect Darling is not quite as precocious as her stablemate but has shown ability and a competitive spirit in her two barrier trials.
She finished less than a half-length behind Readily Availabull in her latest hitout but being a daughter of middle-distance star So You Think, Sargent expects her to appreciate further than the 1000 metres of Saturday’s The Paul Hoffman Handicap.
“She is a lovely filly. She is a very robust So You Think, running-type of filly and she trialled well,” Sargent said.
“She has improved with that and she’s competitive. She is fit enough to go to the races and we’ll see how she goes.
“She might end up in blinkers being a So You Think. If she weighed in in the first five I’d be very happy and then just move her up in distance.”
The two-year-old race is expected to provide an insight into the Inglis Millennium in two weeks with several runners, including favourite Ashema, heading towards the $2 million sales-restricted event.
Saturday’s program also features the Listed Carrington Stakes (1400m) for which the Hawkes Racing-trained Bandersnatch is a $2.70 TAB fixed odds favourite.
Chat, one of two runners for John Thompson, has been backed into $3.30 after opening at $4.60 while Cradle Mountain is a $21 chance to land back-to-back Carrington Stakes wins.
Promising three-year-old Glenfiddich is out of the autumn carnival after suffering a career-threatening leg injury.
Trainer Peter Moody confirmed the news on twitter this week and said connections would weigh up whether to retire the valuable son of Fastnet Rock, or press ahead with a rehabilitation program.
“Disappointed to announce our three-year-old colt Glenfiddich will miss autumn carnival due to an injury sustained to his off foreleg. Owners will decide over weekend regarding rehab or retirement,” Moody said.
Group One placed in the Champagne Stakes as a two-year-old, Glenfiddich won the Stutt Stakes in the spring and was being touted as a Caulfield Guineas and Cox Plate contender before a throat issue derailed his program.
He has been taken out of the nominations for the All-Star Mile, as has dual stakes winner Ain’tnodeeldun, who will miss the autumn after suffering a suspected pelvic injury.
Voting for the $5 million All-Star Mile officially opened to the general public on Friday.
Of the 81 nominated horses, the 10 most popular will earn a spot in the March 13 race, alongside five wildcard runners.
The entries include 23 Group One winners headed by Verry Elleegant, Sir Dragonet, Melody Belle and three-year-old Ole Kirk with voting to close on February 14.
It has been a long and delayed wait for Heart Of Puissance to return to the racetrack but David Eustace is looking forward to the promising stallion getting his career back on track.
The four-year-old will resume in the benchmark 70 race at Sandown Hillside over 1500 metres on Saturday.
It will be his first run since he finished last to Regal Power in the $5 million All-Star Mile at Caulfield in March.
Eustace said Heart Of Puissance needed a good spell after that race as he had jarred up on the firm track.
When he came back into work, they sensed he wasn’t at his best and eventually found he had a rare degenerative gum disease which led to him having the mouth of an older horse with aged teeth.
Eustace is confident that Heart Of Puissance has a bright future and is looking for a forward run on Saturday but warned he’s far from fully wound up.
Heart of Puissance showed enormous potential to win his first two starts and then finished third in the Group Two Sandown Guineas behind Pretty Brazen.
But Eustace said they were taking a low-key approach this year.
“We’re hopeful he can start off a campaign where he can work his way through the grades,” Eustace said.
“He’s had a long time off so he will be ridden so he can be comfortable and allow him to hit the line.
“If that gets him a win, that’s great, but he’ll take a lot of benefit from getting a run under his belt.”
Eustace pointed out that Heart Of Puissance was still lightly-raced and had a lot to learn.
In his previous starts, he has tended to race greenly over the closing stages.
“He’s not a ‘colty’ horse but he can still lack a bit of concentration, which I think we could still see,” Eustace said.
“We think he’s going to want a bit more ground and that’s why we’re starting him off over 1500 metres.”
Talented colt Osamu has already won over his new trainer and he might just become the stable favourite if he can land a victory on the track.
Osamu was Group Two placed in the Skyline Stakes as a juvenile and rounded out his three-year-old spring campaign with another stakes placing in Melbourne under former trainer Chris Waller.
Despite his impressive resume, the colt is yet to win in nine starts, a statistic his new conditioner Annabel Neasham hopes to amend.
“He has to be the best horse I’ve had anything to do with that is still a maidener,” Neasham said.
“It would be nice to get rid of that maiden status.
“Condition wise he looks spot-on, he’s moving well, feeling well. He is one of the most beautiful horses we’ve got in the stable.
“I like looking at him every morning. He is very handsome so hopefully he can match that on the track.”
Osamu will resume in the ANZ Bloodstock News Handicap (1100m) at Randwick on Saturday.
He has also been paid up for a race at Kembla Grange but after drawing wide at the provincial circuit he will almost certainly head to Sydney.
His nine rivals include four-time winner Emanate and Gosford Guineas runner-up The Face but Neasham is confident Osamu will acquit himself well.
“There is a bit of depth to the race even though it’s not a big field and I think it will be a nice place to kick him off before possibly having a tilt at the Inglis Sprint a fortnight later,” she said.
Another horse to have found its way to Neasham’s yard is the former Phillip Stokes-trained mare Selica, who will also be in action at Randwick.
Neasham was buoyed by Selica’s effort to finish third in the Belle Of The Turf Stakes last start despite a limited preparation and regards her as a leading chance.
Trainer John Moloney will take four horses to Sandown without having to worry about how three of them handle the track as they have already tasted success there.
The Moloney trio to have scored at the course are last-start Sandown Lakeside victor Imperial Lad, dual Hillside winner Sunday Pray and sprinter Fine Dane, who has had one start there for a win.
While Moloney doesn’t dismiss the chances of that trio, it’s Milton Park who excites him most.
He is hoping the promising three-year-old can also become a Sandown winner on Saturday as he has big plans for him.
“Hopefully Milton Park, who has never been there, can join them as a winner on the circuit. It should suit him as he needs a big track,” Moloney said.
Milton Park resumed from a spell recently with a first up win at Flemington over 140 metres in a benchmark 70 race to take his record at that distance to three starts for three wins.
“That he ran well was no surprise but the way he did it in the finish was pleasing,” Moloney said.
Milton Park will stay at that distance on Saturday when he runs in the 1400 metre Tile Importer Handicap for three-year-olds.
Moloney has nominated Milton Park for the Australian Guineas and he hopes the horse can prove he’s on track for that race.
“It’s still to be determined whether he has the talent for the Australian Guineas but what we do know is that he seems to have good talent,” Moloney said.
“The only run he didn’t do as well was at Moonee Valley where he didn’t get around the circuit yet was only beaten two lengths.
“I think he’s pretty exciting. He’s only beaten restricted grade, this is another test but if he keeps performing we’re hoping he can progress to the Australian Guineas.”
Moloney said if Milton Park ran well he would have his next start in the C S Hayes Stakes at Flemington on February 13, which would be his lead-in to the Group One Guineas.
Top Singapore-based horseman Cliff Brown has joined the exodus of trainers and jockeys returning to Australia from the Asian racing centre.
Following in the footsteps of Lee Freedman, who recently confirmed he was relocating to the Gold Coast, Brown has this week announced he will return to Australia.
In the past year, several Australian jockeys based in Singapore including Michael Rodd, Pat Moloney, Ben Thompson and Daniel Moor have also headed back home.
Brown left for Singapore 13 years ago having enjoyed a successful career in Australia with the likes of Cheviot, Markham and Tarnpir Lane.
While he was in Singapore he established himself as one of their leading trainers and put the polish on several Group One winners.
Brown plans to return to Victoria in March and start training again at May at a location yet to be determined.
Brown intends to bring some of his key staff members and Singapore horses with him, including his star galloper Inferno.
Inferno has had nine starts for eights wins including a pair of Group One victories at his past two starts in the Singapore Guineas and the Lion City Cup.
He finished second at his only other start.
Brown said he was returning home due to COVID-19 and a recent spate of reforms from the Singapore Turf Club as a consequence of the pandemic.
He felt the changes meant his business model in Singapore could no longer work with reduced meetings and prize money on offer.
Brown has a house at the picturesque seaside resort of Queencliff near Geelong.
An extended summer carnival campaign for Ligulate hinges on his performance at Doomben on Saturday.
Trainer Cody Morgan is toying with the idea of Ligulate backing up in the Sunshine Coast Cup (1400m) seven days later if the gelding returns to winning form at Doomben.
“He’d be backing up and dropping back to 1400 metres in the space of a week but I’ll leave the door open,” Morgan said.
“If he doesn’t win this Saturday there’s also a class six over a mile on the same day at the Sunny Coast.”
Alternatively, Morgan may decided to give Ligulate a short break before aiming for back-to-back wins in the Tamworth Cup (1400m) in April.
Ligulate was a dominant winner in class six company over 1630 metres at Doomben in November before finishing only eighth to Soxagon in The Buffering (1400m) at Eagle Farm on January 2.
Morgan is prepared to forgive Ligulate’s defeat in The Buffering.
“I don’t think he handled the surface at Eagle Farm,” he said.
“He was drawn wide and never really got into the race. None of the backmarkers seemed to make any inroads but he’s come through it really well.”
Morgan believes stepping up to 1600 metres on Saturday will suit Ligulate better, although he harbours some reservations about drawing the outside alley in the small field.
“I know it’s only seven of seven but he’s better when he can land behind the leaders like he did when he won two starts ago,” Morgan said.
“He’ll probably be back last. The small field does play against him but he still looks the one to beat.”
Morgan is hopeful the track, rated a soft 7 on Thursday, will continue to dry out with 30 degrees forecast for Saturday.
“The biggest thing with him is you probably wouldn’t want to back him on anything worse than a (soft) six to be confident,” he said.
“Once it gets wet he’s not the same horse.”
TAB fixed odds has installed Ligulate a $2.10 favourite for the Open Handicap.
A victory at Randwick on Saturday would give Strange Charm a hat-trick of wins but it would not rate as her biggest claim to fame.
Last autumn, Strange Charm broke her maiden on the Kensington track, scoring a comfortable win over Toffee Tongue and Entente.
Both placegetters emerged from that race to make their marks on the major carnivals.
Toffee Tongue was runner up in the Australian Oaks before claiming the Group One Schweppes Oaks in Adelaide and proved it was no fluke with a narrow second to star stablemate Verry Elleegant in the Turnbull Stakes during the Melbourne spring.
Entente also rose through the ranks, taking out the Group Three Carbine Club Stakes two starts later.
Trainer Anthony Cummings regarded Strange Charm highly enough to test her against Sydney’s best fillies in the Vinery Stud Stakes and Australian Oaks but she was unplaced in both.
“She’s had a couple of glitches along the way but she is back in form right now and she’s a nice mare,” Cummings said.
After resuming with a win at Kembla Grange, Strange Charm did not feature in three subsequent spring runs.
But since returning for the summer, the mare has recorded back-to-back wins over 1550 metres at Canterbury, racing on the speed both times.
Cummings had the option to take her to another race over the same course and distance on Friday night but instead opted for Saturday’s TAB Handicap over 1600 metres.
Nash Rawiller takes over from the suspended Regan Bayliss and Strange Charm is on the second line of betting at $8.50 in early TAB fixed odds markets.
“Her form speaks for itself at the minute,” Cummings said.
“She goes back into slightly higher grade but we had a choice of Friday night and I thought this looked an easier race, so we decided to go there.”
The Chris Waller-trained Zing has opened favourite at $4.20 and is a last-start winner over the Randwick mile.