Tiger Of Malay poised to join stablemate Stay Inside on Golden Slipper trial
There was a time when the Freedman brothers were winning Golden Slippers for fun.
Four in a row, in fact. Bint Marscay, Danzero, Flying Spur, Merlene.
The Freedmans made the world’s richest two-year-old race their own. They were so dominant, the race’s sponsor at the time pledged the brothers’ free beer for life.
“But the ‘tap’ was turned off after about eight months!’’ Richard Freedman complained.
It’s hard to believe their Golden Slipper four-peat was completed 25 years ago. Times have certainly changed in the quarter of a century since Merlene’s runaway win.
Richard, Lee and Michael Freedman completed a Golden Slipper four-peat in 1996 with Merlene.Source:News Corp Australia
For a period, the brothers went their separate ways before Richard and Michael got the band back together and formed a training partnership nearly two years ago. They have stable bases at Rosehill and Randwick.
Anthony was training successfully on his own in Melbourne until teaming up with his son, Sam, last year.
Eldest brother, Lee, was leading trainer in Singapore until announcing plans to return to Australia and set-up a training base at the Gold Coast next month.
There’s another Freedman on the training scene, too. Richard’s son Will is forging his own career out of Scone.
The brothers have had a few new misses in the Golden Slipper in recent years with the likes of Crowned Glory (second in 2000), Alinghi (third in 2005) and Frolic (second in 2017) but maybe this is the year when the Freedman name is added to the Golden Slipper honour roll for a fifth time.
Anthony and Sam have Artorius lining up in the Blue Diamond at Caulfield on Saturday but it’s Richard and Michael who seem to be in the box seat in the countdown to the $3.5 million Longines Golden Slipper at Rosehill Gardens on March 20.
Their brilliant colt Stay Inside vaulted to third favouritism for the big race when he maintained his unbeaten record with a brilliant win at Randwick last week.
Stay Inside surged into Golden Slipper calculations with an impressive win in the Pierro Plate. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
At Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, Tiger Of Malay, a stablemate of Stay Inside, is out to consolidate his lofty ranking in Golden Slipper betting by keeping his perfect race record intact in the Group 2 $250,000 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m).
Stay Inside and Tiger Of Malay are both by Extreme Choice and Michael Freedman said the colts have a good attitude for racing.
“Tiger Of Malay is coming up well, I thought he was very good in a strong trial against some of the top colts last week. He’s good to go for Saturday,’’ Michael said.
“Stay Inside pulled up ‘great’ after his win last week and is most likely to go to the Todman Stakes in two weeks.
“They are by the same stallion but they are different types physically. Tiger Of Malay has a bit more size about him but Stay Inside is a very athletic colt.
“It’s a bit early to compare them but they are promising two-year-olds who we hope can get to the Golden Slipper.’’
The Freedmans keep the majority of their two-year-olds at Randwick under Michael’s care.
Richard explained it is “better to have the two-year-olds in the one spot” as most will do very similar work on the track.
“There are other factors like we get grass jump outs every second Tuesday at Rosehill but they have them every Friday at Randwick,’’ he said. “But it’s not impossible to train Golden Slipper winners out of Rosehill – the Hawkes stable have done it a few times.’’
Trainer Richard Freedman is excited about his stable’s two-year-olds. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
Two-year-old racing is particularly important in Sydney and the Freedmans have made a deliberate decision to concentrate more on their two-year-old team this season.
“It is true Sydney is far more focused than Melbourne with the two-year-olds,’’ Michael said.
“I think the proximity we have to the big studs in the Hunter Valley is all part of it for sure.
“It’s no secret there is a few large colts syndicates involved in the industry and they are trying to showcase their two-year-olds that potentially can go and stand at stud here.’’
Richard and Michael both believe there should be more city juvenile races throughout the season.
“We need to develop these young horses so we have adequate fields for the older horses,’’ Richard said. “There is also a need to maintain the faith of people buying into these young horses. We’ve got to strike a balance between the owner and the punter.’’
Michael Freedman was only just out of high school when his older brothers prepared four consecutive Golden Slipper winners between 1993-96.
“I used to do most of the travelling interstate with the horses back then, I was the young and single one back so it was easier for me to do it,’’ he said.
“When Bint Marscay won, Anthony was based at Randwick but I bought the others to Sydney for the Golden Slipper.
“I remember the year we had Merlene (1996) and on Slipper Day we had a few runners and needed some help so we got a young Kiwi who was here for the carnival to strap a horse for us – his name was Chris Waller.
Bint Marscay won the Freedmans first Golden Slipper in 1993. Picture: Mark WilliamsSource:News Corp Australia
“It’s pretty sad when you think about it because it’s showing our age!”
Richard said there was no fluke about the family’s four straight Golden Slipper wins.
“I remember we put a lot of effort into winning the Slipper because at that time two-year-old racing was perceived to be a chink in our armour,’’ Richard said.
“We had stayers, sprinters, milers, weight-for-age horses, three-year-olds but we had never won a major two-year-old race.
“So, we focused on it and won four Golden Slippers and three Blue Diamonds.’’
The brothers both agreed Bint Marscay was the most brilliant of their Golden Slipper winners.
“Bint Marscay was an outstanding two-year-old,’’ Richard said. “Danzero was another who was at his best as a young horse.
“Flying Spur wasn’t going to go to the Slipper but Lee pulled him out of the paddock because it looked like being a weak year.
“With the benefit of hindsight it was a great year with the likes of Octagonal and Our Maizcay coming out of that race but we didn’t know that at the time.
“As for Merlene, she was a super talent. She was only small but she was just brilliant in her two-year-old season.
Michael Freedman hopes Tiger Of Malay can secure a spot in the Golden Slipper. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“But even though we won those four Slippers, they are not easy to win, as we have found out since. We couldn’t win one with Alinghi and she was a champion. Crowned Glory ran a close second one year but she wasn’t in their league and Michael almost won it with Frolic a few years back.’’
Michael felt Stay Inside and Tiger Of Malay are in that elite group of six or eight juveniles who have the ability to win the Golden Slipper.
“I believe there are six horses, maybe even a few more, that can lay genuine claims to the Golden Slipper,’’ he said. “I don’t think there is one absolute standout but I do have plenty of respect for Enthaar, Shaquero and Remarque.
“To try and qualify Tiger Of Malay and Stay Inside for the Golden Slipper would be very pleasing as Richard and I have been in this partnership two years in April and our numbers aren’t anywhere near the size of other stables in Sydney.
“So, it’s exciting to be in the mix with our two colts.’’
Originally published asFreedman brothers rekindling golden years
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