Consistent sprinter Reparations has earnt a shot at the 2015 Newmarket Handicap after he returned to winning form in the Listed John Dillion Stakes (1400m) at Sandown yesterday.
Reparations started his summer preparation with an upset first-up win in the Listed MSS Security Sprint (1200m) at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day, but he was beaten as favourite in the Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m) at the same venue on New Year’s Day.
The Exceed And Excel gelding was allocated the top weight of 60 kilograms in the John Dillon Stakes, but jockey Dwayne Dunn was still happy to settle the six-year-old in a forward position, while Decircles took up the running in the early stages of the race
Odds-on favourite Tried And Tired looked as though he was going to run away with the race when he put his nose in front at the 300 metre mark, but Reparations wound up quickly and he finished over the top of Decircles and Tried And Tired in the shadows of the post to record a third win at Listed level.
Trainer Anthony Freedman revealed before the Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m) that the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) was a possible target for Reparations and he said after the John Dillion Stakes yesterday that sprinter would contest the Group 1 event at Flemington on March 14.
“I think he’s a genuine Group 3 horse,” Freedman said.
“We had a go at a Group 1 in the Stradbroke last year, but he’s clearly a better horse now.
“We’ll throw him in the Newmarket and he’ll get down in the weights.
“I think for him to win a Group 1 it would have to be a handicap and he’s gone well up the straight before so it’s an option.”
Reparations has previously recorded black-type wins in the Thoroughbred Club Cup (1440m), MSS Security Sprint (1200m) and John Dillon Stakes, but he is still chasing a maiden win at Group level.
Freedman gave Reparations his first start at Group level when he finished a close fifth behind Mecir in the Group 3 Newcastle Newmarket Handicap (1400m) in March of last year and he was given a maiden opportunity at the highest level of racing in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 7, but he was never able to get into the race and he finished a disappointing 15th.
The Freedman Stable are chasing their fourth win in the Newmarket Handicap after previously taking out the race with Schillaci (1992), Alinghi (2005) and Miss Andretti (2007).