Memories of the great Mahogany came flooding back for Michael Freedman as the trainer and his brother Richard reinforced their reputation as the current kings of two-year-old racing with Tiger Of Malay’s win in the $1 million BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes.
Tiger Of Malay is no Mahogany but Freedman, who has trained in Singapore and Hong Kong in recent times, reckons he hasn’t been on track in Brisbane in 15 years and says the last big race he won in the Sunshine State was almost three decades ago with Mahogany.
The Freedmans, who have enjoyed a freakishly good season with their two-year-olds highlighted by a Golden Slipper win with Stay Inside, now have a serious chance with another juvenile in a Group 1 race.
Bookies cut Tiger Of Malay’s price from $21 to $7 in the Group 1 JJ Atkins (1600m) in a fortnight and jockey Craig Williams believes the colt will relish the extra 200m of that race.
Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott’s Frankel gelding Converge turned in a slashing JJ trial when storming home from second last to finish runner-up in the Sires’.
Tiger Of Malay take out the Sires' Produce [email protected]_bros take out another 2YO! Great ride from @CWilliamsJockey 🔥 pic.twitter.com/DFc6Bm0luL
Jockey Tim Clark said he “was shattered he got beat” in the Sires’, with bookies moving to make Converge the new $4 JJ Atkins favourite.
But to the winner goes the spoils and the Sires’ was another rich score for the Freedman team in their stellar season.
“I think it’s at least 15 years since I’ve been here, it’s a big thrill to come back and win a race like this,” Michael Freedman said.
“I think the last big race that we won, that I was involved with, would have been Mahogany.
“We had to regroup a bit with this horse after the Sires’ in Sydney because he drew wide in that race, he had the blinkers on and he over-raced a bit and finished out the back.
“We thought Brisbane was a nice option, I’ve always had a good opinion of the horse he just hasn’t had a lot of luck with barriers and tracks.”
Craig Williams will base himself in Queensland and hopes to retain the ride on Tiger Of Malay in the JJ Atkins. Picture: Grant Peters/Trackside PhotographySource:Supplied
Williams was the beneficiary of the pick-up ride on Tiger Of Malay, with Mark Zahra staying in Melbourne with his newborn baby and with Queensland closing its borders to Victoria.
Williams revealed he will base himself in Queensland for the next two weeks to try to pick off some lucrative carnival spoils, hoping to keep the ride on Tiger Of Malay in the JJ Atkins.
“I was always going to come up here and stay for a bit in Queensland due to the calibre of racing here over the next fortnight, but I came a little bit earlier because of the (Victorian) lockdown,” Williams said.
“The way this horse felt today I think he will love the mile of the JJ.
“Late he might have been vulnerable today but to get him into a position it took a lot of riding and I think he’s got a lot of scope.”
Clark was frustrated he got beaten with the wide gate meaning Converge had to drop back to second last.
“He didn’t begin with a great deal of gusto so I elected to ride him quiet in the hope he might potentially learn something,” Clark said.
“But I am shattered he got beat, I got on the back of Ranch Hand – who I thought was the right horse to take me into the race – but he never took me into it.”
Queenslander Prince Of Boom, the $5.50 equal Sires’ favourite, finished 12th after racing three-wide and eased from $6 to $15 in JJ Atkins betting.
LORD MAYOR’S CUP: WALLER OWNERS LOAD UP
Brisbane businessmen and great mates Peter Tighe and Noel Greenhalgh shared in an ownership quinella in the Group 3 Lord Mayor’s Cup at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Chris Waller’s pair Reloaded and So You Win, the latter wearing the Winx colours, ran one-two in the 1800m contest with Tighe and Greenhalgh celebrating whichever way they looked.
Reloaded had been a long time out of the winners’ stall before scoring at Doomben on May 15 but the galloper, who had once started at $6.50 in the Group 1 JJ Atkins in 2019, has now got his confidence back.
The strong win brought up James McDonald’s second win of the day at Eagle Farm and Waller said the Sunshine State had brought out the best in Reloaded like it has done for many other of Waller’s horses in past winters.
“The team up here in Queensland have done a fantastic job with him and we never lost faith in him,” Waller said.
Reloaded made it back-to-back wins after taking out the Lord Mayor’s Cup at Eagle Farm. Picture: Grant Peters/Trackside PhotographySource:Supplied
“He has got his confidence back and they had their chance to run him down but he was very strong at the end.
“He has always shown he has had ability, he has run in Group 1 races, but confidence is just an amazing thing.
“Getting confidence back into horses is often a lot harder than what you think, but now he has found it we will keep pushing on with him and he might get over a bit further too.
“As for So You Win, there are familiar colours and you don’t see those (Winx) colours run second very often.”
Tab.com.au firmed Reloaded from $101 into $34 for the $1.2 million Q22 (2200m) on Stradbroke Handicap day in a fortnight.
The Q22 is a race which the new star of Australian racing, Zaaki, appears to have at his mercy.
Originally published asTiger earns stripes in Sires’ blowout
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