Trainer Lee Freedman has confirmed that the 2015 Australian Derby could be a potential target for promising stayer Nozomi.
Nozomi was sent to the spelling paddock after he finished a gallant third behind Preferment and Bondeiger in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington, but is now back in work ahead of an autumn campaign.
Freedman told Racing Ahead that he is yet to work out an exact program for Nozomi in the autumn, but he said that the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick on April 4 and the Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville on May 9.
“I really haven’t settled down and had a good look at the calendar and I know to be ready for a race like the ATC Derby he will need to have run by February and I’m guessing that is the best time (to resume),” Freedman said.
“It depends on how strong the Sydney Derby is looking because there are so many options in the autumn.
“There is the South Australia Derby and a host of races that we could aim at if we don’t think he is ready for Sydney.
“He has certainly strengthened up since the spring.”
Nozomi did not record his maiden race win until he took out the Fixed Odds Handicap (1875m) at Kyneton on October 3, but he stamped himself as a horse to watch when he took out the Listed Geelong Classic (2200m) on October 22 and finished third in the Victoria Derby.
Freedman admits that Nozomi will need to continue to improve to be competitive at Group 1 level during the autumn, but said that the Street Cry colt is the stables most exciting young horse at this time.
“He is built in the mould of a really good stayer,” Freedman said.
“He is a big strong horse.
“Last prep when Anthony won the Geelong Classic with him we probably undersold that win, but then we saw how good that form was in the Derby.
“He needs to take the next step, but he reminds me, not in type, of a horse like Mummify, a horse that keeps improving with each start and looks like he will get a really solid 2400 metres.
“He is certainly the one that will be the most interesting to see in the autumn.”
Freedman is chasing his fifth win in the Australian Derby after previously taking out the race with Durbridge (1991), Naturalism (1992), Mahogany (1994) and Don Eduardo (2002).