Freedman duo poised to improve Group 1 run

4 min read

By Bren O'Brien

Riding the wave of an extraordinary past 18 months, Anthony Freedman approaches a massive weekend well-placed to improve on his 30 per cent strike rate in Group 1 races since the start of the 2017/18 season.

In an era dominated by big stables, Freedman's Mornington operation defies the trend, with eight Group 1 winners from 27 runs since August 2017, thanks largely to the deeds of Shoals (Fastnet Rock) and Santa Ana Lane (Lope de Vega {Ire}), who have won seven between them in that time.

On Friday, Shoals looks for her fourth Group 1 success when she fronts up in the Manikato S. at Moonee Valley, while at Rosehill, Lyre (Lonhro) looks to back up her victory in the G1 Blue Diamond S by winning the G1 Golden Slipper S.

Lyre following her win in the G1 Blue Diamond S.

Perhaps part of Freedman's success can be attributed to the fact that, always camera-shy, he has left his son Sam to deal with much of the media during this amazing run.

Speaking to RSN, Sam Freedman said Shoals' progression from her second behind Trapeze Artist (Snitzel) in the recent G1 Canterbury S. had been excellent.

"She's come through it really nicely. She tightened up for the run. The trip away certainly brought her on. She ran exactly how we thought she would, she just peaked in that last 50m-100m, but we are looking forward from her second up," he said.

"She's come through it really nicely." - Sam Freedman on Shoals' second in the G1 Canterbury S.

Shoals' second-up record reads two wins and two seconds from four starts, including her success in the G1 Surround S. last year and while she confronts last start G1 Newmarket Hcp winner Sunlight (Zoustar), Freedman is confident she can put her best forward over a track and distance where she has won before.

Shoals in a recent trial

"Sunlight is a pretty incredible animal and she is going to be tough to beat, but we’ve got a live chance and hopefully she can put her best foot forward," he said.

The 4-year-old will then head towards her ultimate target race for this campaign, the G1 TJ Smith S. on April 6.

"It was going to be a month between runs, and we tossed up whether we were going to trial her or run her at Moonee Valley. Third up into the TJ, she should be cherry ripe." he said.

Continuing the Golden tradition

The Golden Slipper was a race that the Freedman brothers dominated in the 1990s, with four consecutive winners from 1993 under Lee Freedman's name.

Lyre was Anthony Freedman's first 2-year-old Group 1 winner in his own name, but working with his brother, he was renowned as the one behind the success of the FBI juveniles.

"He knows what horses it takes to win the race, and what programming to do so." - Sam Freedman

"With the rich history that the family has got with the race, it helps that Dad has been there and done that, he knows what horses it takes to win the race, and what programming to do so," Sam Freedman said.

Lyre

Anthony Freedman is loathed to compare Lyre with any of the champion 2-year-olds he helped prepare, preferring her to stand on her own achievements.

"He is quite reserved on his opinion of her. But she just keeps raising the bar and she has done nothing wrong so far, so hopefully she can elevate herself into that category of the best in Anthony's eyes," he said.

One thing a Freedman has never achieved is to win a Blue Diamond and Golden Slipper with the same horse.

"She's come through the Blue Diamond, couldn’t have come through in better order and she trialled up exceptionally last week." - Sam Freedman

The champion filly Alinghi (Encosta De Lago) won the Diamond but ran third in the Golden Slipper in 2004, while Lee Freedman's other Blue Diamond winners Danelagh (Danehill {USA}) (eighth) and Knowledge (Last Tycoon {Ire}) (seventh) also attempted the feat.

Lyre would become just the second winner, following Sepoy (Elusive Quality {USA}) in 2011, of both feature 2-year-old races in the 30 years since Courtza (Pompeii Court {USA}) did it in 1989 but Sam Freedman said history didn’t concern him.

"She's a horse, and she's not aware of history. We are pretty confident with her. She's come through the Blue Diamond, couldn’t have come through in better order and she trialled up exceptionally last week," he said.