German import Ivanhowe is already being geared towards a Melbourne Cup 2015 campaign this spring with the stallion’s new co-trainer Anthony Freedman saying he had little doubt the world’s richest handicap was the right target.
Still in quarantine, the Soldier Hollow five-year-old is set to come out this weekend to join Anthony and his brother Lee Freedman in Melbourne having previously been prepared by Jean-Pierre Carvalho.
While the team hasn’t officially ruled out an autumn carnival appearance from the dual Group 1 winner, it is more likely he’ll be saved for a spring return as he heads towards the $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
“He has had a hectic year so I would need to be very comfortable in my own mind that he would need to take a run in the autumn, but it’s certainly not off the agenda yet,” Freedman told Racing HQ on Sky Sports Radio on Thursday morning.
“He comes out of quarantine this weekend and I’ll need to look at the horse.
“I want to get a feel for the horse and if he were to race at all in the autumn it would depend on how he does.”
Tentative early Melbourne Cup betting markets on ‘the race that stops a nation’ are already open at Ladbrokes.com.au for eager punters.
The defending champion Protectionist, another German import, leads the pre-nomination Melbourne Cup odds at $13 for his new Newcastle-based trainer Kris Lees.
Three horses then follow on the second line of betting at $21 with Cox Plate winner Adelaide, last year’s Melbourne Cup fourth placegetter Signoff and then Ivanhowe who the bookies are taking no chances with.
While Freedman made some clever comments about the type of punter getting in on the Melbourne Cup action so early in the year, he had no qualms confirming the classic was on Ivanhowe’s agenda.
“He’s a very, very exciting prospect,” he said.
“I have little doubt he’s got the form to get to the race.
“At his best and with improvement one would hope he’d be very effective.”
Despite being a rising six-year-old, the stayer is only relatively lightly-raced win a tidy record of five wins from 10 starts to date, things that work in his favour coming down under according to Freedman.
“He has done a fair bit of travelling already,” Freedman pointed out.
“He’s still quite a young horse and is still relatively unexposed in terms of his attitude to racing.
“We’re certainly starting with the raw material.
“He’s not a pretty horse but he’s a very big, tough, athletic horse.”
He has raced almost exclusively in Group 2 and Group 1 company and is best known for his easy wins in the Group 1 Grosser Preis Von Baden (2413m) and the Group 1 Grosser Pries von Bayern (2414m) last season.
“He’s a very interesting horse,” Freedman said.
“He’s only had the 10 race starts and most were at Group 1 or 2 level.
“He’s been very effective winning five of those including the two Group 1s in Germany.”
The only real flaw on his otherwise very impressive record is a failed run when 18th of 20 starters in the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (2400m) crossing over 14 lengths off the winner Treve in one of the world’s best known thoroughbred showdowns.
“He had a really tiered run in the Arc but he was not really ready for an Arc,” Freedman said.
He was better at his latest start though, the well-travelled galloper going to Tokyo for the first time to contest the Group 1 Japan Cup (2400m) in late November.
Crossing the line six lengths away sixth behind Epiphaneia that day, Ivanhowe was far from disgraced finishing off nicely at the trip given the dominance of the winner and the leader on the day.
The form coming out of Japan Cup since has also been extremely good, a positive sign for Team Freedman and connections.
“His run in the Japan Cup was that of a horse that has really good ability,” Freedman said.
“He got a long way back but it was leader-dominated.
“The form around the horse is very good.”
Stay tuned to Races.com.au for all the latest on Ivanhowe and whether the Melbourne Cup type does make an autumn appearance.
Then to check out all the autumn Group 1 futures and also be one of the first to check out the early Melbourne Cup 2015 odds head to Ladbrokes.com.au where your initial deposit will be matched as a $250 bonus bet when you deposit and quote the code BETBONUS!