By Ray Hickson
If Michael Freedman could have taken any horse from his stable when he left for Hong Kong almost two years ago it would have been Frolic.
She was the flagbearer for his Randwick team with wins in the Inglis Classic and Reisling Stakes plus a second in the 2017 Golden Slipper but injuries cost her almost a full year and her five runs as a three-year-old realised one placing.
Frolic was a source of great frustration for Edward O’Rourke, who took over Freedman’s stables after serving as foreman, and Freedman hopes now they train in partnership they can rejuvenate the mare.
“Hopefully she is going to come back to somewhere near her best form but I think the jury is out a bit until we see her under race conditions,’’ Freedman said.
“It’s difficult for any horse coming back from surgery, and she had two lots. Having not been here I haven’t seen physically how she looked in her last couple of preparations but according to Ed this time around she looks as good as she ever has.’’
The four-year-old last raced at Scone back in May running a sound third in the Inglis Guineas (1400m) and on the back of two trials is set to resume in the Summer Sprint (1000m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Freedman isn’t placing a must-win expectation on Frolic but would be disappointed if she isn’t competitive in the seven-horse field.
“The Hawkesbury trial was just to brush the cobwebs off, it was a bit more fair dinkum at Canterbury,’’ he said.
“She jumped a bit better and travelled up in front which isn’t her pattern but it was a good solid trial.
“It’s hard to gauge whether she is back to anywhere near her two-year-old form but her recent trial was more encouraging.
“We figured it was time to go to the races with her and get a guide on exactly where we are at.’’
TAB opened Frolic at $5 for her return and will concede Single Bullet ($2.90) some 6.5kg after Robbie Dolan brings the favourite down to 49kg.
Frolic runs second in a Canterbury barrier trial on December 20
With the likes of Jungle Edge rolling along up front and the prospect of a track with some cushion – Randwick was rated soft 7 on Wednesday with the likelihood of closer to a good 4 come Saturday – Freedman is confident Frolic will have the right conditions to perform.
“She’s had a nice grounding and while 1000m is short of what I would consider her best distance is it gives her a chance to put in a nice run,’’ he said.
“Some of her best form as a two-year-old was on those softer tracks, the fact she’s had knee surgery she’d benefit from having a bit of fire out of the ground.’’
Freedman and O’Rourke have been in partnership since late November and are faced with rebuilding for the second time in a couple of years.
If Frolic can fire then they have a horse capable of contesting races through the impending autumn carnival and once again be the a flagbearer.
“It’s a slow process building any stable. Coming back and teaming up we’ve got to start from scratch again and that’s going to take some time,’’ Freedman said.
“It’d be nice to get her back to some of her old form.’’