First Command to break $1m barrier

By: Mark Mazzaglia
January 21st, 2013

In form sprinter First Command could get the chance to break the one million dollar barrier this week if trainer Anthony Freedman decides to back him up in the Group 2 $220,000 Essendon Mazda Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night.

First Command

First Command could break into $1 million in prize money at Moonee Valley on Friday night. Photo by: Race Horse Photos Australia

First Command took his earnings to $930,000 on Saturday when he made it two wins this preparation by taking out the Listed $120,000 Kensington Stakes (1000m) at Flemington and the winning cheque from the Australia Stakes of $132,000 will make him another equine millionaire.

If Freedman is happy with the seven year old’s recovery after his easy Flemington win, he will have no worries about saddling him up again within seven days.

“He would have to be spot on again,” Freedman said.

“He didn’t have an overly hard run at Flemington. I know how he’s got to be.”

“He’s seven now so you would think he’s not going to win a Group I so we’ll just keep him below that level,” Freedman said.

“I’d love to get him to a million dollars, which would be just great.”

Freedman will give First Command every chance to be ready for Friday night by sending the gelding to the family farm at Rye for a week of beach work.

“He’ll spend every day down at the beach,” Freedman said.

First Command has won twelve from thirty-one in a relatively lightly raced career because of injuries but Glen Boss said he felt in great order winning down the Flemington straight on the weekend.

“He’s a horse that has had a lot of injuries through the years, niggling ones and no major ones but he’s jumping straight on the bridle and controlling his races now, which is what he used to do as a younger horse,” Boss said.

Boss was always able to control the race from in front and didn’t feel pressured at any stage before scoring a comfortable win over Light Express and Belfast Boy.

“When Vlad came up to me on the horse that ran second, that actually got him interested. I had to give him one reminder to say ‘okay, it’s a race’ and that really switched him on,” Boss said.

“To be quite honest, the further I was going to go in the straight, the further he was going to go in front of them. He had that race well and truly in his keeping from the time he hit the ground.”

Freedman is in two minds if he should push onto the  Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 23 but if First Command was to win again at Group 2 level on Friday night, he could get another chance at the top grade after finishing an unlucky fourth last year.

“He couldn’t win the race last year, albeit he was a bit unlucky,” Freedman said.

Nominations for the Australia Stakes have been extended until ten o’clock Tuesday morning after First Command was only one of nine entries which also included Peter Snowden’s sprinter Pinwheel who has had a freshen up since running fourth to Western Australia’s new sprinting sensation Barakey in the Group 1 $500,000 Crown Perth-Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot, Perth on November 24.

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