Darley face a tough ask over the next 12 months, they need to find the talent to not only win the three year old races over the autumn and winter period, they also need to have them ready to go as four year olds for the spring carnival features.
It’s a difficult gig at the best of times, not least when the cream of your stock is constantly pillaged for use over in Europe.
That’s exactly the case Peter Snowden faces as he attempts to fill the gap left by the departure of Sepoy and Helmet.
He has them for just three more starts combined and after that he’ll need to dig a little deeper for black type success.
That’s where Free Wheeling looks like coming in, a three year old that almost lost it all in a barrier accident during the QTC Sires Produce Stakes at Eagle Farm.
He reared in the stalls and became lodged between the barriers forcing a tense wait for both trainer and connections.
He trailed at Rosehill yesterday though and despite finishing sixth behind Straight Albert over 1030m, he got through it without drama.
“What Free Wheeling did that day was extremely dangerous – he could have killed himself and horses around him,” Snowden said.
“I still don’t know why he did it or how he did it, he’s just not that sort of horse at all.
“Since that day, we have taken him to the barriers seven or eight times and he has not been a problem.”
While he may have passed his first test, performing up the standards of his stalemates is entirely another prospect.
It’s made more difficult by the fact his program is now out of sync with where Darley wants it.
“He missed all the spring and has come in at the wrong time of year,” Snowden said.
“But we have been able to give him a good, long preparation and he has got his fitness levels up now.
“I’m going to give him a couple of weeks off because it would have been too long to keep him in work and then prepare him for the Royal Sovereign Stakes in February.”