The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Anthony & Sam Freedman‘s globe-trotting four-year-old Artorius was enormous late charging home to deny the Kiwi mare Imperatriz a Group 1 victory down under in Saturday’s thrilling Canterbury Stakes 2023 results at Randwick.
The Flying Artie entire was just that, flying, when resuming in the Group 1 $600,000 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) on Randwick Guineas Day off an impressive international campaign last year.
It was a beautiful return to racing down under for the very valuable stallion prospect who was last seen running sixth in a Group 1 in France last August.
Prior to that the 2021 Blue Diamond winner enjoyed back-to-back thirds at the highest level in the UK when placed in the Group 1 Platinum Jubilee at Royal Ascot and Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket.
“He came home and he wasn’t doing that great. Just the last three or four weeks we’ve been really happy with him, he turned up in great order here today,” co-trainer Anthony Freedman told the media post-victory.
“Changed a few things and we’ve also learned now you’ve just got to do that with him pre-race, get him active because he just sort of falls asleep.
“Zac did that very well today, he was just that two or three lengths closer.”
Hong Kong’s Zac Purton had the ride in the Canterbury on Artorius who was settled midfield throughout as the speedy Hawkes Racing-trained Millie Fox Stakes winner Electric Girl led them around.
All the money was on the Mark Walker-trained Group 1 New Zealand raider Imperatriz, and the classy four-year-old was given a lovely ride up on speed second by James McDonald.
J. Mac began to improve on the favourite coming around the outside of the leader as they approached the home turn really testing Electric Girl on the straight.
With 300m to go McDonald went form home on Imperatriz and she raced clear of the pack looking the winner.
McDonald was travelling so sweetly in the lead and looked to have it wrapped up before Purton burst through late to nab the mare right on the line, while Electric Girl held for third.
It was a huge training performance by the Freedman’s to have Artorius switched-on first-up at weight-for-age in a Group 1, which was Purton’s 39th elite level success as a jockey.
“I think obviously a world class jockey, I didn’t give him too many instructions,” Freedman said of Purton.
“Most of the instructions were pre-race, keep him moving, keep him active. Don’t just do what you normally do sit around and walk around in circles and he falls asleep, and he did that really well.
“The start is everything to this horse, if he starts you can win.”
There now looks a host of upcoming autumn racing options for Artorius including the Group 1 $3 million TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 1 during ‘The Championships’.
“I guess that’s where we go, but I’ll talk to the team and see what they’re thinking,” Freedman said of the Group 1 sprint.
As for Imperatriz, the mare is likely to head to Rosehill on March 18 for the Group 1 $1 million George Ryder Stakes (1500m).
Forbidden Love (2022) completed the Canterbury Stakes – George Ryder double last year.
Imperatriz ($4.20) remains favourite in all-in 2023 George Ryder Stakes betting, while Artorius is into $9.
Click here for the latest pre-field George Ryder Stakes odds online.
2023 Canterbury Stakes Results & Finishing Order
|1||2||ARTORIUS||Anthony & Sam Freedman||Zac Purton||8||59kg||$9.50|
|2||8||IMPERATRIZ||Mark Walker||James McDonald||0.15L||7||57kg||$2.10F|
|3||9||ELECTRIC GIRL||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Zac Lloyd (a)||0.87L||1||57kg||$11|
|4||11||GOLDEN MILE||James Cummings||Nash Rawiller||0.99L||2||56kg||$6|
|5||1||CASCADIAN (GB)||James Cummings||Brenton Avdulla||1.97L||5||59kg||$9|
|6||3||KIRWAN’S LANE (NZ)||John O’Shea||Chad Schofield||2.49L||9||59kg||$51|
|7||5||CONVERGE||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Tim Clark||2.59L||4||59kg||$26|
|8||7||QUANTICO||John O’Shea||Kerrin McEvoy||2.81L||10||59kg||$26|
|9||4||LOMBARDO||Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)||Brett Prebble||3.58L||3||59kg||$17|
|10||10||ARGENTIA||Anthony & Sam Freedman||Craig Williams||3.64L||11||57kg||$21|
|11||6||OLD FLAME (GB)||Peter & Paul Snowden||Sam Clipperton||14.59L||6||59kg||$31|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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