Trainer Lee Freedman will give promising young stayer Nozomi one more trial before the three year old kicks off his Autumn Carnival campaign in the $150,000 C S Hayes Stakes (1400m).
Freedman was pleased with the effort of Nozomi when he finished sixth in an 800m Cranbourne barrier trial last Thursday and the champion trainer is banking on another trial to top him off nicely for his return in the Group 3 race for the colts and geldings at Flemington on February 21.
Regular race day rider Dwayne Dunn only extended the Street Cry colt for a short period of time in the straight before letting him coast to the line at the end of his heat but that was all that Freedman wanted.
“Dwayne was happy with him and he knows the horse well,” Freedman, who trains in partnership wwith his brother Anthony, told AAP.
“We didn’t want him to do a lot and Dwayne just opened him up for about half a furlong and then shut him down.
“We didn’t trial him in his blinkers so it was just an exercise in fitness.
“He’ll probably have another one before he kicks off.”
Nozomi made an impact during the 2014 Melbourne Spring Carnival with a narrow win over Preferment in the Listed $120,000 Emsley Lodge Racing Geelong Classic (2200m) at Geelong on October 22.
The Geelong Classic form was then made to look very strong with Nozomi finishing third behind Preferment and Bondeiger in the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on November 1.
Freedman is also banking on natural improvement from Nozomi and is looking forward to a rematch with Preferment and Bondeiger in the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 4, the first day of ‘The Championships’.
“He has certainly strengthened up since the spring,” Freedman said.
“He is built in the mould of a really good stayer.”
“He is a big strong horse.
“Last prep when Anthony won the Geelong Classic with him we probably undersold that win, but then we saw how good that form was in the Derby.
“He needs to take the next step, but he reminds me, not in type, of a horse like Mummify, a horse that keeps improving with each start and looks like he will get a really solid 2400 metres.”
Nozomi is also entered for the for the Group 1 $500,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 7 and the Group 1 $1m Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington a week later giving Freedman plenty of options leading up to the Australian Derby.
The Chris Waller trained Preferment is at the top of the Australian Derby betting with Ladbrokes.com.au at $5 while Nozomi is rated a $21 chance in the early markets.