Trainer Michael Freedman has tweaked around Super Easy’s future racing plans after the hitherto undefeated champion galloper was beaten for the first time at his 13th run last Sunday.
The Darci Brahma four-year-old’s historic attempt to become the absolute record holder of the longest run without losing in the Group 1 Panasonic Kranji Mile (1600m) was unfortunately foiled in the closing stages by Better Life, to the dismay of his connections and legion of fans.
History books will therefore still show Super Easy sharing the honours with Better Than Ever on 12 wins, but Freedman would rather focus on future conquests than dwell on the past.
Super Easy (red) seen here at his 12th win in the Group 3 Jumbo Jet Trophy with Joao Moreira aboard, picture Singapore Turf Club
“Horses can’t win forever. Even Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal gets beaten one day,” said Freedman philosophically. “It’s disappointing as it would have been nice to create history, but he has still done a fantastic job.
“Take nothing away from the winner. I think he was beaten by a very good filly (Better Life) over that distance on Sunday.”
In concert with Super Easy’s owners the Joy N Happiness Stable, the Australian conditioner has decided to press on with the Hong Kong riches in December, but in a half-expected move, has shifted the target from his original goal, the Longines Hong Kong Mile (1600m), to the Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1200m).
Before the running of the Kranji Mile, the first Leg of the Singapore Triple Crown Series, a clear direction towards mile races and beyond (eg the second Leg, the Raffles Cup over 1800m) was being charted for the $1.47 million stakes earner, but a change of heart ensued in the aftermath.
“He pulled up well, but I’m probably leaning towards just giving him a big freshen-up and keep him here before going for the Hong Kong Sprint in December instead,” said Freedman whose overseas raids had been confined to only Dubai up to now.
“Going back to his form to-date and being able to analyse later in the cold light of day, some of his best runs have been over 1200m and 1400m. I think he’s got an amazing turn of foot and can put in some quick sectionals, but he just can’t quite expose those over 1600m.
“He also runs well fresh. To me, his best run still remains the Paititi Gold Trophy (1200m) when he came back from a time out to beat horses like Yin Xin and Captain Obvious by four lengths.”
Freedman said that even though Super Easy won the Group 1 Singapore Guineas over the mile last May, bloodlines eventually tell the story.
“On his breeding, his mare Parfore is by Gold Brose who had speed, and similarly his half-brother Tiger Tees is a 1400m horse back in Australia,” he said.
“Darci Brahma himself was at his best over 1200m and 1400m and nowhere near as effective over the mile. He came back over 1200m to win the Telegraph in New Zealand.
“So, everything about Super Easy’s pedigree suggests he is more dominant over 1200m and 1400m. We’ve got to work to his strength.
“In the Guineas, it was a different ball game as he raced against his own age group, which was not the case in the Kranji Mile. Besides I think Better Life didn’t have any blinkers on in the Guineas.”
While Super Easy will bypass the lead-up race (Group 2 Jockey Club Sprint on November 18) to the Hong Kong Sprint (December 9), Freedman is still using that stepping stone for his second Hong Kong raider Mr Big.
“Mr Big will go earlier for that trial race in November. Hopefully I can have two runners in the Sprint,” he said.
Meanwhile, Freedman will try and reclaim the lead from rival trainer Steven Burridge in the Singapore trainer’s premiership leader with the five runners he saddles in Friday night’s 10-race programme. Burridge scored a double (Benji’s Empire and Vaya Condios) on Sunday to level up with Freedman, who had a lone win with Texan Takeover, on 64 wins, but tops the log on a countback for seconds.
Freedman is hoping that Chateauneuf Dupape, his representative in Friday’s main race, the $75,000 Kranji Stakes C over 1100m, has turned the corner from his heart scare two runs back.
“He seems to have pulled up well after his heart fibrillation, which hopefully was a one-off,” he said in reference to his second-last run when he was tailed off badly and was diagnosed with a heart condition post-race.
“I don’t know if it is a coincidence but I remember my brother Lee trained his grandmother Grand Echezeaux for the Velas. She had a similar heart fibrillation at her debut.
“Thank goodness it was a one-off and it never recurred and she went on to become a great mare for us.
“I gave the ride to Tengku (Rehaizat) who has ridden a few winners for me recently. Let’s hope the good run continues.”
Freedman is also giving apprentice jockey Koh Teck Huat a first leg-up aboard one of his horses on Friday night, Machfive, a maiden who has found one better at his last three runs.
“Koh is riding well at the moment and I needed a jockey who could ride him at 50kgs as he’s a small sort of horse,” he said.
“We’ve kept him fresh since his last run. He ran well in a Polytrack race over 1200m three runs back and I hope he reproduces that run on Friday.”