Hall of Fame trainer Lee Freedman has announced he will help train the German stayer Lucas Cranach for this year’s Melbourne Cup just two weeks after stepping down as the head-trainer of his Melbourne stables.
Freedman flew to England yesterday to begin pre-training the five-year-old Cup hopeful at the famed Newmarket Racecourse.
The trainer will be operating under the name of his brother Anthony as he prepares the Mamool entire to travel to Australia.
“I’m going over to take over the horse’s campaign on behalf of Anthony and bring him back to Australia,” Lee Freedman said.
“Quarantine starts early September and finishes about the 21st or 22nd of September so he’ll be on the way back then.”
Lucas Cranach sparked a major betting plunge in the Melbourne Cup odds after people became aware of his impressive win in a 2,400 metre Group 2 race at Hamburg in late June.
“He’s also won in France,” Freedman said.
The horse was purchased following the race for an undisclosed amount by Australian Bloodstock, who also own British import Illustrious Blue.
Illustrious Blue finished a commendable ninth in last year’s Melbourne Cup.
Australian Bloodstock manager Luke Murrell has high hopes for their recent find.
“We are absolutely ecstatic to have secured a horse of the quality of Lucas Cranach. He will be a genuine contender in this year’s Caulfield and Melbourne Cups,” said Murrell.
“We identified Lucas Cranach in Germany in July with our European agent and we were able to secure him in early August.
“He really is an ideal horse for the Cup as he has an extraordinary turn of foot that has to be seen to be believed.
“He has so much upside after just seven starts and a lot of top grade racing ahead of him.
“We know we have a leading contender for this year’s race.”
Anthony Freedman, who has only seen Lucas Cranach’s wins on video, will become involved in training the horse once it arrives in Australia later in the spring.
“Obviously I’ve been very impressed by what I’ve seen on video and I’m thrilled to have him in my stable,” Anthony Freedman said.
”The main thing is for us to get to know the horse and get him ready for a race like the Melbourne Cup, we’ve got plenty of time to do that.”