Hall of Fame trainer Lee Freedman concedes Kuro faces a big task in overcoming the talented field confirmed for Saturday’s Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield, but would not be surprised to see the four-year-old right in the finish.
Kuro began his racing career under the guidance of now Godolphin head John O’Shea in 2014; passing through the stables of sprint king Joe Pride before arriving at the stables of Lee and Anthony Freedman prior to the recent 2015 Spring Carnival.
Kuro was unable to make much of a competitive impact through three starts for Team Freedman in spring, but resumed for a credible fifth in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) following a tough run in transit at Caulfield a fortnight ago.
Freedman told Racing Ahead he is confident the son of Denman has taken plenty of benefit from his first-up run but understands he faces a big task in overcoming the talent-rich and capacity field of eighteen in Saturday’s Oakleigh Plate.
“This is as good an Oakleigh Plate as I’ve seen in many years,” Freedman said.
“My horse has been a bit so-so. In his first prep for me a fair few things went wrong, run of the race stuff and then one of his runs towards the end I don’t think he was 100%.
“He’s come back well and I thought his first-up run was sound. The filly won that easily with a big weight pull of the field and he was within a length of two or three other good horses.
“He’ll take improvement from it and drops about 4kgs into the Oakleigh Plate.
“I’ve been around long enough to see a lot of Oakleigh Plates and whilst the best horse often wins, it’s also the horse treated best at the weights and has the ability. He’s certainly got good ability and he won’t know himself with 53kgs on his back.
“I couldn’t be tipping him but it would be no surprise to me if an older horse like that well under weight-for-age would run well in it.”
Kuro has posted a commendable six wins and five minors through only eighteen career starts so far, having debuted for success in a Hawkesbury minor over 1000m on March 13th.
Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering Kuro at generous $31 Oakleigh Plate odds for success or $9 to finish in the first three.