Lee Freedman says Lucas Cranach will be “something special” next year but could still win tomorrow’s $6m Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington.
The five time Melbourne Cup winning trainer has made Lucas Cranach his pet project for the spring while handing over official duties to brother Anthony
Lucas Cranach will be going into the grueling 3200m race at only his 11th race start and just his second in Australia.
The winner of five often starts cracked a heel prior to his Australian debut in the 2011 Caulfield Cup on October 15.
The problem surfaced just days before the Caulfield feature and the German import drifted from $7 to $15 in the betting.
He run to finish fifth beaten 3 lengths by Southern Speed was good with jockey Corey Brown believing he rode the wrong type of race.
Brown was instructed to wind Lucas Cranach up as the thought was the five-year-old may have lacked a turn of foot.
Brown did so but Lucas Cranach sprinted quickly and was vying for the lead at the home turn.
Wearing bar plates and just 12 weeks after he had raced in Germany, Lucas Cranach’s run gave out 100m from the post.
Brown will ride Lucas Cranach more confidently knowing indeed the horse can sprint.
And the foot problems are over.
Freedman will race Lucas Cranach in normal race plates but after considering adding blinkers, he has decided against them.
“He worked strongly on Tuesday and over a mile and a quarter on Saturday and we are very happy and he is very fit’” Freedman said.
“We worked him in blinkers a couple of times and I thought he worked too strongly for my liking.
“My worry is not so much in the race but in the pre-race parade with him being an entire.
“It is such a big in day and a long parade, I thought it was an unacceptable risk that he would fire up and run the race before they got onto the track.
“He gives impression he can win a Cup, he is a very very talented horse but not in the old girl’s class (Makybe Diva) but he is talented and lightly raced.
“He is only having his 11th start and there is miles of improvement once he has been here (in Australia) for an extended period of time.
“He shows the attributes of a very good stayer.
“I’m reasonably confident the 3200m won’t be an issue, the way he travels and finishes his work off.
“It took a long time to ease him after track work on Saturday which is always a good sign going into a stayers race.
“He is unproven at 3200m but most of them are besides a few of the Europeans – I think he will run it.
“He settled a long way back in Caulfield Cup (16th) but I think the Melbourne Cup is a different.
“He has he has drawn nicely and it is a good long run down the straight the first time, hopefully he will be midfield.
“He is a seasoned horse even for just 10 starts.
“He has traveled to France and won in Germany and takes everything in his stride.
“I’ve found by having trained a few Europeans that the longer they are here the more they improve and he will be improving off a pretty good base.
“He will be something special next year.”
Freedman has previous won the Melbourne Cup with Tawriffic (1989), Subzero (1992) Doriemus (1995) and Makybe Diva (2004/5).