Co-trainer Lee Freedman has confirmed plans for a September kick off to Melbourne Cup 2015-bound German import Our Ivanhowe’s spring campaign this season.
A six-year-old son of Soldier Hollow, the five-time winning stallion debuted down under for Team Freedman in mid-May in Adelaide.
Having had 10 previous runs overseas before his transfer to Victoria, the lightly-raced Group 1 winner was sixth in last year’s Japan Cup over the mile and a half before his maiden Australian start in the Group 3 RA Lee Stakes (1600m) at Morphettville.
He finished an underwhelming seventh behind The Bowler in the RA Lee beaten three lengths with Damien Oliver aboard carrying 60kg before being sent out for a stint in the paddock.
Freedman is convinced turning the stayer out after just the one run was the right thing to do, telling Racing Ahead’s RSN Our Ivanhowe had progressed nicely during his time away from racing.
“Yeah, very, very pleased with him,” he said.
“I believe he is (going better than he was before his first-up run in May).”
“His permanent work rider feels he’s made good improvement in terms of acclimatising, settling in and he actually looks bigger and stronger this time around so I think the exercise in the autumn was worthwhile in terms of getting the horse going here.”
The half a million dollar earner is progressing nicely towards a run in the world’s richest handicap, the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington Racecourse on Tuesday November 3.
In the lead-up to the ‘race that stops a nation’, Our Ivanhowe will also run in the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 17 most likely second-up after a September kick-off.
“I haven’t firmed up his first-up run kind of leaning towards only not giving the horse more than a couple of runs going into the Melbourne Cup,” Freedman said.
“I wouldn’t expect that we’ll see him until sometime in September to kick off, but he’s going beautifully at the moment.
“I think the little break and then coming back for the spring looks to be working well.”
2015 Caulfield Cup nominations close at midday today while Melbourne Cup nominations are open for another four weeks.
Current all-in Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au have Japan’s Fame Game as the $13 favourite to become the second Japanese-trained stayer to win the race after stablemates Delta Blues and Pop Rock ran the 2006 quinella.
Our Ivanhowe is at $26 in the latest Melbourne Cup betting markets, an equal price with a host of other livewire hopefuls including last start Goodwood Cup winner Big Orange and Chris Waller’s Sydney Cup winner Grand Marshal – both gallopers proven over the two miles.
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