Flemington-based trainers Lee & Anthony Freedman are looking at the Newmarket Handicap 2015 this Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival as the major aim for Reparations after his win in the John Dillon Stakes on Monday.
A six-year-old son of Exceed And Excel, Melbourne Cup Day winner Reparations ran second-up for the summer when taking on just six rivals in the $120,000 Listed Master Yearlings John Dillon Stakes (1400m) at Sandown Racecourse on Australia Day.
He came off a third to Decircles in the Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m) at Flemington from New Year’s Day, jockey Dwayne Dunn retaining the ride.
Dunn broke a lengthy 88 start winning drought earlier in the day when guiding the Robert Smerdon-trained Shamal Wind, the mare now bound for the 2015 Oakleigh Plate on Blue Diamond Stakes Day on February 28, in the $120,000 Listed W.J. Adams Stakes (1000m).
He made it a double then aboard Reparations ($5) in race six when guiding the 60kg top weight to a narrow win when a nose ahead of the Danny O’Brien-trained Standish Handicap winner Decircles ($8).
Also very close a neck off the winner was the beaten odds-on favourite Tried And Tired ($1.90), the Leon & Troy Corstens-trained five-year-old coming off a second in the Chester Manifold the Saturday before.
Reparations was away brilliantly from the barriers and it was his speedy jump that saw Dunn change his pre-race tactics to take the horse closer up on the speed than he’d originally intended.
“When he began like he did and I saw that option, I shoved him in there,” Dunn told the media after the win.
Having improved on his fourth to Finishing Card in the John Dillon Stakes 12 months earlier, Reparations will now be stepped up notably in class with connections considering a run in the $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington Racecourse on March 14.
“We may throw him in the Newmarket and get him well down in the weights, I think if he was to win a Group 1 it would have to be a handicap and he’s obviously gone well up the (Flemington) straight before so that’s an option,” co-trainer Anthony Freedman told Racing Victoria on Monday.
Freedman all but ruled out a weight-for-age campaign with Reparations in races like the CF Orr Stakes and Futurity Stakes over 1400m at Caulfield next month, saying they would stick to the handicaps.
“He’s a genuine Group Three horse,” he said.
“We had a go at a Group 1 in the Stradbroke before and I think he’s clearly a better horse now than what he was back then.”
Reparations sole Group 1 run as mentioned by Freedman was during last year’s Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival when a disappointing 15th to River Lad in the Stradbroke Handicap.
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2015 John Dillon Stakes Results
Sandown Race 5 – 26/01/2015
|1||1||REPARATIONS||Lee & Anthony Freedman||Dwayne Dunn||–||7||60kg||$5|
|2||5||DECIRCLES||Danny O’Brien||Stephen Baster||0.1L||4||57.5kg||$8|
|3||3||TRIED AND TIRED||Leon & Troy Corstens||Damien Oliver||0.2L||1||58.5kg||$1.90F|
|4||4||AERONAUTICAL||Lionel Cohen||Brad Rawiller||0.95L||3||58kg||$14|
|5||6||BACKSTEDT||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||1.95L||6||56.5kg||$12|
|6||2||AMORINO||Archie Alexander||Steven Arnold||2.15L||2||58.5kg||$26|
|7||7||ANLON||Darren Weir||Damian Lane||5.9L||5||54.5kg||$10|