German import Our Ivanhowe will make his Spring Carnival debut in the Group 3 $150,000 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on September 19.
An impressive Cranbourne trial win today was enough for co-trainers Lee and Anthony Freedman to give the go ahead for Our Ivanhowe to return over 2000m next week.
Our Ivanhowe was included in the final field for this Saturday’s Group 1 $400,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington, but Lee Freedman explained that was only a precaution if today’s Cranbourne barrier trials were cancelled because of the weather and has scratched him from the Group 1 weight for age feature.
But Freedman’s A plan had always been to head to the Naturalism Stakes first up on the back a solid trial and he will top off his Spring Carnival build up with a gallop during the week.
“We weren’t sure if they had been postponed or cancelled at Cranbourne and we very much needed that trial to fit him up for the following week,” Freedman said.
“I had to take the measure of accepting with him, but as long as those trials proceed tomorrow I will probably scratch him and trial him and gallop as was my original plan.”
Freedman can see the 2000m of the Naturalism Stakes a perfect starting point for the dual Group 1.
“It fits nicely in terms of time and the speed of a 2000m race under quality handicap conditions will really suit him rather than a weight-for-age contest against some of the best horses in the land over a trip that’s totally unsuitable to him,” Freedman said.
The winner of the Naturalism Stakes is exempt from the ballot for the Group 1 $3m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 17 and Freedman would be glad to gain automatic entry for the German stayer.
The Freedmans had given Our Ivanhowe one Australian start and the six year old finished midfield when seventh in the Group 3 $150,000 Hughes Chauffeured Limousines R A Lee Stakes (1600m) at Morphettville on May 16.
The well performed stayer is the winner of two Group 1 races during 2014 in Germany before he was transferred to the Freedman stable with victories in the Group 1 €250,000 Longines – Grosser Preis Von Baden (2413m) at Baden Baden on September 7 and in the Group 1 €155,000 Pastorius – Grosser Preis Von Bayern (2414m) at Munich on November 1.
In early Caulfield Cup betting with Ladbrokes.com.au, Our Ivanhowe is at the good odds of $34 with the Japanese stayer Fame Game heading the market order at $11.