By Chris Scholtz
Rejuvenated gelding Shalmaneser is likely to step up to the $160,000 Carlton Draught Wyong Gold Cup on Friday week after a bold front-running win in last Sunday’s Taree Gold Cup over 2000m.
The eight-year-old Shalmaneser ($7) has found a new lease of life under his new trainer Richard Freedman, who had a day to remember on his first visit to a Taree race meeting.
Rosehill-based Freedman took three horses to the Taree Cup Showcase meeting and came away with two wins after Triple Choice ($5.50), another horse he inherited from former trainers, won his Benchmark race over 1600m.
It could have been three wins for Freedman as his strongly fancied filly Unguarded was denied a start in the first race after she was a late scratching at the barrier after failing a vet examination.
“The day didn’t start as we hoped but it’s been a happy ending,” said Rosehill-based Freedman, who became the first metropolitan trainer to win a Taree Cup since 1998.
It was a homecoming of sorts for Shalmaneser as the 8YO started his racing career with Taree trainer Andrew McDonald in 2014 and was placed in two of his first four starts before he was transferred to Hawkesbury trainer Scott Singleton.
Shalmaneser recorded five wins and seven placings in 42 starts for Singleton before he joined the Freedman stable four months ago.
The Taree Cup was just his third start for Freedman and his first success since he won over 1800m at Randwick in 2016.
Ridden by Andrew Adkins, Shalmaneser defied all attempts to run him down after taking up the lead from the start. He defied the pattern of the day as he was the only leader to win on the eight-race program, a strong headwind from the 1200m to the home turn taking its toll on pacemakers.
After being perfectly rated in front by Adkins , Shalmaneser gave a strong kick off the home turn to win by a clear cut 1.5 lengths from Allzin ($19), a Wauchope-trained gelding who ran boldly for a horse taking on the 2000m of the Taree Cup at his first start since April. Dubaiinstyle ($4.40), one of three Kris Lees-trained runners, finished third.
Taree Cup winners and placegetters have an excellent record in the Listed Wyong Cup (2100m). Freedman said the rich prizemoney on Friday week made it an obvious target for Shalmaneser at his next start.
“We will see how he comes through this win as he is now an 8YO but the owners are keen to have a crack at the big prizemoney at Wyong and it does look a nice race for him,” Freedman said.
Freedman’s Taree Cup win adds to his growing success since he returned to training at Hawkesbury in 2016 with the intention of running a small stable as an aside to his media work. He has since moved to Rosehill and has a team of 30 horses in work.
“Things have grown quickly. It’s more than I anticipated but I am really enjoying it,” Freedman said.
All four Freedman brothers are now training successfully in their own right with family leader Lee based in Singapore, Anthony running a big stable in Victoria and youngest brother Michael training in Hong Kong.