A capacity field of sixteen fillies will line up...
One of four interstate entries for the 2013 Perth Cup on January 1, former European galloper Doctor Fremantle will be out to break a lengthy three year winning drought when they run at Flemington this weekend in the lead-up to their trip west.
Currently prepared by Mornington horseman Sam Pritchard-Gordon the eight-year-old Sadler’s Wells stallion is accepted for the $100,000 Spotless Handicap (2000m) on Saturday where jockey Michael Rodd will look to get them first past the post for the first time since September of 2009.
Doctor Fremantle began their career in England under the mentorship of the esteemed Sir Michael Stoute who prepared them for a number of notable performances including a duo of Group 3 wins and a Group 2 success at Newmarket.
The last time they horse was in the winners’ stall was in fact in a European Group 3 when they took out the Dubai Duty Free Arc Trial over 2212m at Newbury.
Imported to Australia in early 2010 they started racing down under with Lee Freedman who ran them five times, the horse failing to finish better than sixth.
Another location change followed in 2011 when Doctor Freemantle was sent to race in New Zealand first with Murray & Bjorn Baker for three failed starts and then with Lauren Brennan who was credited for rejuvenating their career.
Doctor Freemantle enjoyed a number of good runs with Brennan including their brave third to Shez Sinsational in the Group 1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) on Boxing Day last year and a close third to Riomoral in the Group 2 Awapuni Gold Cup (2000m) in March.
Returning to Australia midway through this year Doctor Fremantle has run five times for Pritchard-Gordon, the last three of which have been improved efforts.
A devastatingly close second to Texan Warney in the Horsham Cup (1800m) in October was followed by a credible fourth to Streets Away in the Kyneton Cup (2000m).
They were then stepped up to black type company for the first time this season on November 25 when they jumped from barrier 12 of 14 to come within one and a half lengths and finish fourth to King Diamond in the Listed Ballarat Cup (2200m).
Getting their chance to atone on the weekend Doctor Freemantle will face their last start conqueror again with King Diamond also accepted for the Spotless on Saturday and their current trainer is excited about their prospects.
“He let down with an extended burst of acceleration which I haven’t seen in him since arriving in Australasia so that’s the reason why we’re pressing on and quite excited about Saturday,” Pritchard-Gordon said of their Ballarat Cup run.
“He was the only horse at Ballarat to make up ground down the middle on the day.
“Taking ground off (third place-getter) Exceptionally and making her look as though she doesn’t have a turn of foot is something that no other horse has done this spring.
“Providing the pace is on and he gets out at the right time and he wants to try on the day he’s every chance of winning.
“There must be something there that I’m doing that he’s really cottoned on to.
“He’s a very happy horse at the moment.”
Pritchard-Gordon is hoping to see a competitive performance from Doctor Freemantle in the Spotless as they prepare to head across to WA on New Year’s Day for the latest edition of the always popular $500,000 Group 2 Golden River Developments Perth Cup (2400m).
Futures Perth Cup betting markets on the 32 early entries are led by the super consistent Adam Durrant-trained Chester Road and their Railway Stakes winning stablemate Mr Moet.
Doctor Fremantle is also one of the top fancies paying around $10 equal with fellow Eastern state visitor Shamardashing who is out to improve on their ninth to Luckygray in the Kingston Town Classic last time out.
The final interstate visitor is then the Peter Moody-trained former Sandown Cup winner Macedonian.
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