That’s Freedom has the opportunity to prove he is worthy of a start in the Queanbeyan Cup when he contests an important lead-up race at his home track on Tuesday.
The seven-year-old will line up in the Cup Prelude over 2000 metres which is the first time he has ran over the longer distance in his 53 start career.
Trainer Frank Cleary is a Queanbeyan man through and through and hopes That’s Freedom can earn a shot at the Cup on October 29.
“The owners are all from Queanbeyan and I want to see if he can run the journey so the Prelude is the ideal race to try it,” he said.
“His record at Queanbeyan is very good but he has never been over the 2000 metres because he was racing well enough over 1200 and 1400 metres so we stuck to those.
“He has done plenty of miles in training and I’m quietly confident he will get the distance.”
Cleary shares in the ownership of That’s Freedom with current Canberra Raiders chairman Allan Hawke and former boss John McIntyre. That’s Freedom will oppose Uncle Gerry who is trained by Cleary’s son Joe and is also being set for the Queanbeyan Cup.
Uncle Gerry won first-up at Queanbeyan before finishing fifth behind That’s Freedom at Queanbeyan and then running second last at Canberra on Friday.
The flashy chestnut ran second in the Cup and Prelude last year and can be expected to bounce back despite the quicker than usual back-up within five days.
Prelude top weight Welcome Art won two races in succession before only faltering late in the Cootamundra Cup.
Rock Prodigy has only raced once at Queanbeyan for a win but has to contend with the outside alley.
While Rock Prodigy’s record at Queanbeyan is faultless, it’s hard not to be impressed by the record of That’s Freedom at his home circuit.
The gelding has finished in the top three at 15 of his 18 starts.
“He is trained here and doesn’t have to travel real far - just across the road,” Cleary said.
“If he can just be put to sleep early he will run the distance out and hopefully show he is up to running in the Cup.”
That’s Freedom has earned in excess of $120,000 after connections decided to buy the former Victorian trained maiden hoping he could measure up to more suitable races in country New South Wales.
“Five of his six wins have been at Queanbeyan and he has finished second 14 times,” Cleary added.
“He has been a pretty good buy for us considering we got him for a bit over $12,000.”
Cleary doesn’t train the large number of horses he use to but is banking on That’s Freedom giving him a representative in the Queanbeyan Cup.
“I only have the two runners on Tuesday and they both will go close,” he suggested.