Lee Freedman already has 124 Group One victories to his name but that doesn’t make him any less excited for the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) this Saturday at Caulfield.
It will be the first time the trainer races at the highest level since beginning a training partnership with his brother Anthony back in November after a three-year hiatus.
Even Freedman admits he didn’t expect to be running a horse in a Group One race this soon but couldn’t bypass the chance with Java, who has gone from strength to strength this campaign.
“It was highly unexpected, we just figured he’s a horse on the up who’s done everything right,” Freedman said on RSN’s Racing Ahead.
“He’s a Group 3 winner at his last start and three-year-olds over the years have a pretty good record in the race.
“He’s a go-forward horse who will make his own luck and after weighing it all up with the Godolphin people we decided to have a go.”
Java is one of 15 horses set to run in the 2015 CF Orr Stakes, only six of which are resuming. Despite a fantastic summer campaign, the three-year-old gelding will have to overcome a wide start from barrier 13 with Chad Schofield to ride.
The Godolphin-owned gelding has won all four of his starts since December, a vast improvement on his two unplaced runs during the winter last year.
After winning his maiden at Kilmore on December 2, Java went on to score two Benchmark 64 races. He made his black-type racing debut in the Group 3 Manfred Stakes (1300m) at Sandown on January 26, winning one and a quarter lengths clear of Petrology.
Java worked over from barrier seven and got outside the leader before ranging up to him as he entered the straight. He hit the front with 200 metres to go and toughed it out well to hold his rivals off.
The gelding is on the third line of betting at Ladbrokes.com.au, paying odds of $8 to win the CF Orr Stakes.
Freedman will be aiming for his fourth victory in Saturday’s race after winning with Durbridge (1993), Barcada (2002), and Perfect Promise (2006). He believes Java still has more to offer and could easily figure in the $400,000 feature race.
“He has surprised a bit with his spiralling ratings but I can’t see anything in the horse’s work or his attitude around the stables that he’s over the top,” Freedman said.
“It will just be a matter of whether he can get some sort of run in the race that suits him and whether he’s up to that grade.
“Knowing the sort of horse he is, he is a winner, he knows where the winning post is, I’m sure whatever he does he’ll run well.
“He hasn’t drawn that well but that said he does put himself in the right position, he’s a good quality three-year-old and that’s going to take him a long way.”
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