Our Ivanhowe is set to contest the 2015 The Bart Cummings at Flemington on Sunday and co-trainer Lee Freedman is confident that the step-up to 2600 metres will suit the imported stayer in the Group 3 event.
Our Ivanhowe made his racing debut with a seventh place finish over a mile in the Group 3 RA Lee Stakes (1600m) at Morphettville on May 16 and he finished a close ninth in the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m), but he is yet to recapture the sort of form that he produced when he took out both the Grosser Preis Von Baden (2413m) at Baden Baden on September 7 and the Group 1 Grosser Preis Von Bayern (2414m) at Munich on November 1 last year.
Freedman told Racing Ahead that Our Ivanhowe has taken plenty of benefit out of his run in the Naturalism Stakes and he is confident that the Soldier Hollow entire is ready to return to a semblance of his best form when he runs in The Bart Cummings over 2600 metres this weekend.
“He is doing extremely well and I don’t think I was going to get to where I wanted to get to with just racecourse gallops,” Freedman said.
“He has worked well this week and it will be good to get the horse out to 2500 metres.
“His trackwork has improved and he worked very well with his workmate the other day.
“These horses are used to working that way and getting out to a trip that he is do good at will really suit him.
“I will be disappointed on Sunday if he is not in the finish.
“I would be very disappointed if he didn’t run top three without excuses.”
Our Ivanhowe has generally been ridden as a backmarker during his racing career, but he has been allocated barrier one for The Bart Cummings and Freedman said that it would likely be a waste if the six-year-old was settled too far back in the early stages of the race that offers the winner ballot-exempt entry into the Melbourne Cup.
“I will leave it up to Ben,” Freedman said.
“From barrier one you wouldn’t want to be drifting back because it seems counterproductive, but Ben knows the horse pretty well now.”
Our Ivanhowe is currently available at 2015 The Bart Cummings odds of $5.50 with Ladbrokes and he is on the second line of betting behind Macedon Lodge-owned Foundry ($3).