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Black-type opportunity beckons for Freedman fillies

Adding valuable black-type to their resumes will be the mission for stablemates Graceful Artist and Zoubaby when the pair head to Scone for the Listed Woodlands Stakes.

Mindful that both fillies are well bred, Graceful Artist being a daughter of Trapeze Artist out of Listed winner Gai's Choice, while Zoubaby is by top stallion Zoustar, co-trainer Will Freedman is keen to give them a stakes race opportunity before the end of their juvenile seasons.

"It's an important day for both of them and they're both going well," Freedman said. "They're both searching for a bit of black-type as a two-year-old, it builds their values.

"If I had to choose, Graceful Artist is probably the pick of the two, but Zoubaby running a big race wouldn't surprise me."

Graceful Artist made a perfect start to her career, coming from near-last on the turn to post a strong win in the Miss Finland Stakes (1000m) at Muswellbrook.

Zoubaby finished fifth at Newcastle at her first run then had no luck from a wide draw when sticking on gamely for fourth to Clean Energy at Warwick Farm last time out.

"Graceful Artist put the run on the board at her first start in the Miss Finland and she has come on since then," Freedman said. "She did a really good job. She got back and it is very hard for two-year-olds to win from behind because they're not used to sustaining long runs.

"Zoubaby's last run was a lot better than they'll give credit for. She was very wide and she is going to have residual fitness, so if it's a high-pressure 1100, which it can typically be, she will be thereabouts late."

Zoubaby wil be ridden by Tom Sherry and has drawn well in barrier two, while Graceful Artist also fared well with gate four for Jason Collett.

In Secret won the Woodlands Stakes enroute to Group 1 glory; picture stevehart.com.au

The Woodlands Stakes has proven to be a handy career launch pad, the race's honour roll boasting the likes of Flippant (2015), Libertini (2019) and In Secret (2022), while the ill-fated Miracle Of Love was third last year before finishing a narrow second in the Group 1 J J Atkins Stakes at Eagle Farm.

Freedman said Zoubaby was unlikely to press on to Brisbane as Saturday's race was expected to be her final campaign run, while the door was ajar for Graceful Artist to head north pending her performance.

Both fillies hold nominations for next month's BRC Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m) and the J J Atkins (1600m).

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