The Australian Guineas is back on the agenda for promising staying three year old Nozomi after he scored a surprise jump out win at Flemington today.
Champion trainer Lee Freedman, who trains in partnership with his brother Anthony, was excited after Nozomi led all to the way to win the 800m jump out and will strongly consider running him in the Group 1 $500,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 7.
“I wasn’t going to head that way, but I may,” Freedman told racing.com.
“I’ll give that a bit of thought now because he did have pretty competitive speed there today and maybe the Guineas should be back on the table.”
“The end game for him the Derby in Sydney, that’s the race I want to win with him, but how we get there I don’t know yet.
Freedman had earmarked the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 4 for Nozomi after the Street Cry colt ran third behind Preferment and Bondeiger in the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on November 1.
But Nozomi had showed his staying potential at his previous run when he narrowly beat Preferment in the Listed $120,000 Emsley Lodge Racing Geelong Classic (2200m) at Geelong on October 22.
Freedman had picked out the Group 2 $200,000 Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield next week for Nozomi to kick off his Autumn campaign and then progress to the Group 2 $200,000 Caulfield Autumn Classic (1800m) at Caulfield two weeks later.
“Before this morning I was going to run him next Saturday and run him two weeks later in the Autumn Classic, over 1800 metres, and then head to Sydney for the (Rosehill) Guineas and the Derby.
“That’s probably where I will go, but if I don’t I’ll probably run in the (Australian) Guineas first.”
Nozomi’s Sydney campaign could include the Group 1 $500,000 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill on March 21 as well as the Australian Derby.
Freedman had put Nozomi in the one paced staying category and was very surprised with the turn of foot he displayed in the jump out today when he put a visor on him for the first time.
“He had the reputation of being a one-paced, staying type of horse but it’s the first time this preparation that we put the visor on him and he looked a different horse.” Freedman said.
“A horse that’s got that speed that we also know can stay, it’s looking good for him this autumn.”
Freedman is also banking on natural improvement from Nozomi and is looking forward to a rematch with Preferment and Bondeiger in the Australian Derby on the first day of ‘The Championships’.
“It would be natural to expect that he has made good improvement since the spring – a horse of his breeding, by Street Cry – coming into his autumn three-year-old season you’d hope he’s improved and I think he has. But time will tell,” Freedman said.
Caulfield Guineas winner Shooting To Win heads the Australian Guineas markets with Ladbrokes.com.au at $7 while Nozomi is rated a $34 chance.
While in Australian Derby betting the Chris Waller trained Preferment is at the top of the market order at $5 with Nozomi marked at $21.