The Michael Freedman yard is purring back into life after allowing the post-Singapore Guineas dust to settle since May 18.
The current Singapore leading trainer racked up a winning treble on that Friday night, including Super Easy’s incredible slalom run in the Group 1 event to stretch his unbeaten sequence to 10 wins. Freedman then loaded up the heavy artillery on Singapore Airlines International Cup night the Sunday after, but fired blanks with Mr Big’s second to Ato in the Group 1 KrisFlyer International Sprint (1200m) as his best result.
Since then, Freedman’s name had hardly been seen on the card as he sent out only a skeleton team of 10 runners in the last four meetings that have been run this month. As a result, his win tally also froze at 36 wins (last success was the third leg of his May 18 treble, Winontop), enabling rival trainer Laurie Laxon to cut back the lead to only two wins courtesy of a treble last Sunday.
Super Easy, picture Singapore Turf Club.
Just last weekend, the Australian had only Masthead running on Friday and Raffles Knight and Raffles Pegasus on Sunday, but again success eluded them. The ‘hibernate’ sign is somehow still hanging from his barn this weekend, but two of his big guns will keep him busy as they make their much-awaited comeback – Cash Luck on Friday night and Better Be The One on Sunday.
Freedman saddles one more runner on Friday – Monte Cristo, and four more on Sunday including Raffles Knight, who is backing up after his third to Forgiven last Sunday and debutant Dazzling Kind.
“It’s been pretty quiet since the SIA Cup week. I guess we’re a bit in limbo at the moment,” said Freedman.
“Some horses are coming back from a spell, like Super Easy and Mr Big who had four weeks off and are about to kick out their programmes.
“I’ve also got many two-year-olds who are trialling and about to have their first runs as well.
“Not to mention, we’ve had a few close seconds like when Winontop just got rolled the other day (June 3), but we knew we would go through this phase.”
Those idle days will soon be over, though. While Super Easy and Mr Big are still waiting in the wings, Cash Luck and Better Be The One will get right back in the thick of the action this weekend.
“Cash Luck is a nice staying sort of horse who got held up a little bit in the Guineas,” said Freedman, whose stable queue-up in the third Leg of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge probably ranks as one of his best career highlights since he began training at Kranji in 2008.
“I’m not saying he would have beaten Super Easy, but it was still a very good effort considering he was away for nearly two months.
“I’ll see how he goes on Friday, but he would have to be a (Singapore) Gold Cup hope at the end of the year (November).”
A five-time winner who ran out of the placings at two starts in Dubai earlier in the year, Cash Luck (x Bradbury’s Luck) is one of a small field of seven runners in Friday night’s $125,000 Open Class race over Polytrack which is run over the Guineas distance of 1600m.
Among those who may thwart his bid to visit the winner’s circle since his last success on January 29, Fatkid probably stands the tallest. The Handsome Ransom five-year-old has been a bit out of sorts since his last win in last year’s Group 2 Queen Elizabeth II Cup more than a year ago, but gives every indication he is back to his best on his last-start fast-finishing second to Arowana Dot Com on SIA Cup night.
Trainer Patrick Shaw is gang-tackling the race with three runners, of whom Flying West is probably the leading chance. The Flying Spur six-year-old was an impressive all-the-way winner two starts back after stealing a march on his rivals and if he can get away to such a soft lead again, he will give plenty of sight.
Should Cash Luck, who will be ridden by Stephen Baster and is likely to start favourite, oblige on Friday, the weekend could get even better for Freedman on Sunday.
Following his ordinary sixth in the KrisFlyer, stable banner Better Be The One faces the starter again in the $125,000 RDA Cup, an Open Class race over 1000m on Polytrack.
Freedman is quick to dismiss the More Than Ready five-year-old’s run in the KrisFlyer and has already charted a programme for the gelding raced by his good friend John O’Neil of J Man Stable.
“He had no luck from where he was drawn (nine) in the KrisFlyer. It’s best to ignore that run,” said Freedman.
“He’s pulled up great and had a gallop on Wednesday morning. It’s always hard to place such horses with high ratings, but there are a few sprint races in the second half of the year we can look at.
“The Paititi Gold Trophy (July 15) and the Woodlands Handicap (August 19) are races we could consider for him.”
Better Be The One will be reunited with two-time Singapore champion jockey Joao Moreira, who has yet to score on him in two rides and returns from a four-meeting suspension on Friday night.
The Brazilian jockey, who is miles ahead in the jockey’s premiership and four wins short of the century, drove Better Be The One to a closing second to Rocket Man in the Group 1 Lion City Cup (1200m) last April, but the racing circumstances were against them in the KrisFlyer when they were trapped wide throughout before weakening out of it when the pace picked up in the home straight.
Drawn in barrier No 1, Better Be The One will face six rivals headed by two other beaten KrisFlyer runners, Captain Obvious (fourth) and Perfect Pins (eighth).