Horse Racing

Sam Freedman buoyed by return of Blue Diamond winner Artorius ahead of Cranbourne trial

Blue Diamond winner Artorius will take the first step towards the Caulfield Guineas on Monday trialling at Cranbourne.

The Group 1 winner is among 20 Anthony and Sam Freedman horses slated for fitness gallops including Melbourne Cup-qualified Realm Of Flowers and Thousand Guineas aspirant Argentia.

Artorius, who was acquired by Newgate Farm prior to a slashing sixth in the Group 1 Golden Slipper on March 27, will resume in the Group 3 McNeil Stakes on August 28.

Pushing back the Group 2 Danehill Stakes — now part of Group 1 Turnbull Stakes Day on October 2 — has forced a rethink to the traditional Guineas path.

“He’ll probably go to the McNeil and maybe into a Prelude (September 18) and then three weeks into the Guineas,” co-trainer Sam Freedman said.

“We‘ll get a guide whether he needs three runs into the Guineas off his couple of trials.

“There’s a race at Sandown (September 26) … if he needs an extra run.”

Artorius wins Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield. Picture: George Salpigtidis–Racing Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Artorius is the $8 TAB second favourite for the Caulfield Guineas behind Godolphin’s Anamoe ($6).

Despite a brilliant two-year-old season, Freedman remains adamant Artorius will be even better at three.

“He’s a different horse to a Hanseatic or Lyre, he’s probably got a little bit more range and scope to really go on at three and improve,” Freedman said.

“You watch his Blue Diamond and even the Slipper, he went around like a toddler.

“In the Slipper he didn’t know what he was doing and then the penny dropped late.

“We need the penny to drop a bit earlier in races and I think you‘ll see a more furnished product.”

Artorius raced greenly in the Slipper, going back to last from a wide draw, behind a hot early speed before hitting the line strongly late to finish sixth.

The three-year-old son of Newgate stallion Flying Artie will be ridden quietly on Monday.

“He’ll improve for the trial and we’ll start gearing up towards the McNeil,” Freedman said.

“We want to vindicate the decision of the purchasers (Newgate) to buy him and we think he’ll be a better three-year-old than two-year-old.

“The pressure is obviously getting them (horses) to do that but ultimately we can point the horse in the direction and try and get him as best we can ready for those races.“

Artorius also holds a nomination for the Cox Plate.

“The three-year-olds tend to run very big races in the Cox Plate every year,” Freedman said.

“You’d be kicking yourself if you didn’t have him in and it came up a soft year and he improved to the point where you want to have a crack.”


GROUP 1 Oakleigh Plate winner Portland Sky is among a star-studded line-up for the Cranbourne trials on Monday.

The Mornington sprinter will go around in the second of 25 trials alongside stakes-winning mares Annavisto and Tyche Goddess.

Portland Sky dead heats with Celebrity Queen in the Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield. Picture: George Salpigtidis – Racing Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Jamie Kah will ride untapped sprinter-miler Ayrton in the third trial for co-trainers Mick Price and Michael Kent jnr.

Others slated for gallops include Black Caviar filly Invincible Caviar, Heart Of Puissance, Cherry Tortoni and Ancestry.

Imported stayers Delphi, Port Guillaume and Harmysian will step out in Trial 23 alongside Realm Of Flowers, Long Arm and Mirage Dancer.


STAR jockey Mark Zahra has been cleared of structural damage following an innocuous fall at Flemington on Saturday.

Zahra was unseated from Second Slip on the way to the barriers and sustained ribs and elbow soreness.

Scans at Royal Melbourne Hospital on Saturday afternoon cleared the elbow of any damage.

Zahra has bruised ribs and is likely to undergo further scans to confirm initial findings.


MELBOURNE Cup-winning jockey Jye McNeil has made his intentions clear, riding four winners in his first six rides back from minor ankle surgery.

McNeil finished with a double at Flemington on Saturday and was beaten a whisker in another race.

He returned to the saddle last week with a double at Moe.

“About six or seven weeks ago I had a procedure done where they took some hardware out of my ankle and obviously had a recovery period from that,” McNeil said.

“I had a really good grounding with the physio and strengthening to make sure I got back to 110 per cent for my return to the saddle and that was showing today.

“The ankle feels fantastic now. Before surgery there was a little bit of restriction there in mobility, so that was, I guess, the motivator to get it done. It’s come back really well.

“It’s getting back to doing the hard work and getting those relationships again and getting good support straight away, so that always helps. Hopefully that continues.”


BEN Melham was fined $300 for overuse of the whip in Race 1 at Flemington on Saturday.

Stewards pinged Melham for striking The Good Fight nine times prior to the last 100m (four more than the prescribed limit) in the 2530m staying race.

Ben Melham winning on Hosier in the VRC Member Justin Hoy Trophy at Flemington on Saturday. Picture: Pat Scala – Racing Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Apprentice jockey Tatum Bull was stung $400 for failing to ride out Ashford Street in Race 3.

After giving cheek out in front, leading at the 100m mark, fourth-placed Ashford Street was collared late as Bull reverted to hands and heels riding.

Having reviewed the race stewards were satisfied Bull‘s actions cost the gelding third placing.

Originally published asGuineas colt Artorius excites Freedman

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