Freedman in radical rethink
CHAMPION trainer Lee Freedman has totally revised his thinking about the type of horse needed to win the Hongkong Invitation races after last Sunday's failure of Storaia in the Invitation Bowl at Sha Tin.
Freedman offers no excuses for Storaia - ridden by Damien Oliver - other than the simple fact that the gelding wasn't good enough.
He now believes the quality of the Hongkong races is such that failed Group One horses from Australia cannot compete.
A horse such as Storaia, despite his good record in Group One races behind the likes of Schillaci, has probably lost his chance of winning at that level.
''In future, I think we have to look for horses on the way up rather than failed Group One horses,'' Freedman said.
''A horse that has won Group Three or Two races but looks to be advancing into Group One - that's the observation of both myself and my brother Richard who took Storaia to Hongkong.'' Storaia, according to Richard Freedman, is essentially a Group Two horse not up to winning at Group One.
''A horse like Kessem a couple of years back is ideal, while both Romanee Conti and Fraar are horses that look certain to win Group One races in Australia or New Zealand,'' he said.
The trouble with that theory is the selection process now in existence in Australia for the Hongkong races.
At present, horses are recommended by Victoria Racing Club handicapper Jim Bowler who virtually phantom handicaps the horses nominated, and the top weights are invited.
The type of horse Freedman is talking about, without any Group One placings, may not get Bowler's high rating.
''What they have to do is change the selection procedure and make it more subjective. Pick the horses that can win the race,'' Freedman said.
Lee Freedman has abandoned plans to take champion sprinter Schillaci to Tokyo for next month's A$1-million Yosuda Kunen, over 1,600 metres. The trip was shelved after costs escalated with the withdrawal of the other Australian contender, Kinjite.
Young Sydney trainer Kerry Jordan scored his most important win when Innocent King won the A$1-million AJC Derby (2,400 metres) at Randwick.
Innocent King, ridden by Jim Cassidy, overcame a severe check at 600 metres to win in a storming finish along the rails.
The New Zealand bred Innocent King charged home to beat BMW winner Kaaptive Edition.
Trainer Graeme Rogerson had his most successful Australian carnival in Sydney when star filly Skating won the A$1-million Doncaster Handicap (1,600 metres) at Randwick.
Skating, by At Talaq, overcame barrier 17 to hold off last year's Doncaster Handicap winner Soho Square.
Rogerson describes Skating, ridden by Grant Cooksley, as an outstanding filly who could be a superstar next season.
Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum got some consolation for Fraar's defeat in the Hongkong Invitation Cup by winning the A$500,000 Sydney Cup with the imported stayer Azzaam.
Jockey Mick Dittman had a perfect ride on Azzaam, the son of Chief's Crown, to beat Te Akau Nick.
Dittman may have to abandon plans to ride for Robert Sangster in Britain as his wife Maureen has fallen ill.
Maureen, a trainer, has been operated on to remove a brain tumour and must now undergo more therapy.