Anthony Freedman’s veteran sprinter First Command will continue with their autumn carnival preparations at Caulfield this weekend with their trainer looking to get a gauge on their chances for the Oakleigh Plate 2013 at the end of the month.
The seven-year-old son of Commands contested last year’s edition of the $400,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) and finished a very competitive fourth when defeated just half a length by upset Queensland winner Woorim improving hugely from their dead last finish when 17th behind Eagle Falls, who sadly had to be euthanised this week, in the 2011 Oakleigh Plate.
Earlier they won the Listed Kensington Stakes (1000m) second-up at Flemington, an achievement they repeated on January 19 this year when successfully defending their title in the summer showdown.
First Command also won their first-up run this time in at Caulfield over the 1000m and will look to extend their winning streak to three this Saturday when they jump favourite, currently paying $2.70 at bookmaker.com.au, in the small seven-horse field for the $120,000 Listed W.J. Adams Stakes (1000m).
How they perform this weekend in a quality field that features the likes of David Jolly’s flying Adelaide mare Avoid Lightning ($3) and the Gary Portelli-trained Octagonal gelding Eight Bills ($6) will determine where to next during the Melbourne Festival of Racing and whether the Oakleigh Plate is a viable option again for First Command who has won 12 of their 31 start so far.
“He’s as good as what he was the other day but it’s a bit harder this week because of the handicaps,” Freedman said speaking of the fact First command is the 60.5kg top-weight for Saturday giving away a minimum 3.5 kilos to their rivals.
“If he were to win again we’d probably have to run him in the Oakleigh Plate again.
“We’ll use Saturday as a bit of a guide.”
So far First Command has amassed $930,960 in career prize money and they will hit the magic million dollar mark if they can win the WJ Adams and secure the $72,000 first prize for connections.
While the class of their rivals and their hefty top-weight are concerns, Freedman is also worried that gate seven might not be the best place for his horse to jump from.
“They (small fields) can always be tricky and he’s drawn seven of seven which is not ideal,” Freedman said.
“But Glen (Boss) is riding well so hopefully he’ll sort that out.”
Follow First Command throughout their autumn prep right here at Races.com.au.
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