Trainer Anthony Freedman has former German galloper Lucas Cranach on track for a tilt at the Australian Cup at Flemington next month with a last to first win at Caulfield on Saturday.
Freedman took over the training of Lucas Cranach last Spring and prepared him for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups where he performed very well.
The Mamool five year old made up a heap off ground in the Group 1 $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup when fifth to Southern Speed then repeated that effort when a close finishing third to Dunaden in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup at Flemington.
Freedman produced Luca Cranach first up to win the Group 2 $200,000 Carlton Draught Peter Young Stakes over 1800m on Saturday, the shortest journey the stayer has won over from his six wins.
The Bart Cummings trained Illo fought on for a good second while the Peter Moody trained Minighar who won at Caulfield on February 11 again flashed home late for third.
“I don’t think he’s won at this distance so it augers well for longer races,” he said. “It was a very impressive win and we’ll go to Flemington with a bit of confidence.
“I think it was important that he came here today and maybe not win, but run particularly well given he was going to run in weight-for-age races. You don’t know that they are weight-for-age horses until they do it so I was pretty impressed with his acceleration.”
The Group 1 $1m Dubai Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 10 is Lucas Cranach’s main immediate assignment where is he likely to clash again with Illo and Manighar and 2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain.
Sydney jockey Nash Rawiller, who had earlier in the day took out the Group 1 $500,000 Cathay Pacific Futurity Stakes (1400m) on King Mufhasa, let Lucas Cranach settle near the tail of the field and eased him to the outside in the straight where overpowered the leaders to score a soft win.
“He switched off beautifully and I was pretty fortunate whose back I was able to get onto (Manighar),” Rawiller said. “He gave me a nice cart into the race and he showed a tremendous turn of foot when I went.
“It was a very soft win because he just pricked his ears and I had to give him another one to keep going.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to have a ride on him and hopefully we can continue the association.”
The Australian trainers has found the key to these imported stayers and like Moody with Manighar, Freedman has used local knowledge to get these stayers to perform over shorter trips.