By Ray Hickson
It’s a well held belief that, whether they win or not, two-year-olds shouldn’t be judged on one run so co-trainer Michael Freedman is looking for impressive debut winner Stay Inside to prove himself worthy of a Golden Slipper campaign at Randwick on Saturday.
Stay Inside has already done enough to be on the $21 line in TAB’s all-in Golden Slipper market so a win in the Silverdale Farm Pierro Plate (1100m), where he opened $3 favourite, will only see him move up the charts.
Freedman said he’s seen the colt take benefit from his Randwick win three weeks ago and that holds him in good stead to make a statement.
“It’ll be interesting to see if he can make the necessary improvement to put him in the mix with some of the better two-year-olds,’’ Freedman said.
“We’re going in with an open mind to see how he measures up. He’s trained on well since then and is a little more switched on now.
“With two-year-olds you like to see them coping with the rigors and not showing signs of needing the paddock. Touch wood he’s not showing that at the moment.”
After sitting on the speed on debut, Stay Inside showed above average ability in racing clear, while his fellow on pacers weakened, to clock the fastest last 600m (33.32, Punter's Intelligence) of the 1000m event and the equal best last 200m (11.29).
There’s no reason for Freedman to think the youngster won’t be just as strong with an extra 100m and potentially 200m if he passes this test with flying colours.
“He probably surprised a little bit, I was happy enough going into the race thinking he could run well,’’ he said.
“Until they do it you never really know but he ran out that race the other day over the shorter trip pretty strongly. It suggests the 1100m on Saturday will suit then hopefully beyond that.”
As for the Slipper, while Enthaar and Profiteer have stolen the show in recent weeks, Freedman is keeping an open mind.
“The complexion can change very quickly, we’ve been around long enough to know one week can look a certain way and another week it can be a different look,’’ he said.
If there’s a horse in the Richard and Michael Freedman yard that deserves a change of luck it’s Sweet Reply who kicks off her autumn campaign in the Group 2 $200,000 TAB Light Fingers Stakes (1200m).
With five seconds and an unlucky fourth from six starts in the spring, nobody would begrudge Sweet Reply, who opened $34 with TAB, a victory but Freedman is a little cautious about her chances first-up since her narrow Sandown Guineas defeat.
Stay Inside wins at Randwick on January 23
“She’s probably Australia’s best qualified Class 1 horse at the moment,’’ he said.
“On a couple of occasions it was probably entirely jockey error, not the horse’s fault. I think she is a pretty handy filly and she will get her wins once she’s fit and ready.
“The run will improve her but she’s ready to go to the races. There are some nice fillies in there but it looks a nice option to kick off in.”
The campaign plan for the filly is something of a blank page at the moment but if she performs up to Freedman’s overall assessment then she could race her way into some carnival features.
“I don’t think she’d run an Oaks trip and that a mile sees her out. If her form warrants it a race like the Coolmore but she needs to show that she’s good enough for a race like that,’’ Freedman said.