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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


Updated: Mar 6, 2023

SUNDAY: March 5, 2023: HAWKESURY’S quieter environment has played an important role in Communist’s Group 1 breakthrough at Royal Randwick yesterday.

Royal Randwick trainer Michael Freedman clinched his first winner at racing’s elite level from his second stable at Hawkesbury when the talented three-year-old romped home with the $1m Randwick Guineas (1600m).

Patiently ridden by Zac Purton, Communist ($16) produced a brilliant sprint from the top of the rise and won easily from Lindermann ($16) and Zou Tiger ($4.20).

Freedman opened his Hawkesbury base 12 months ago, and it wasn’t long after when the gelding joined his team at the provincial track.

“Communist started out at my Randwick stable, but soon found his way to Hawkesbury,” Freedman said this evening.

“He has been a bit of a difficult horse with a few idiosyncrasies, and the quieter environment at Hawkesbury away from the city has really suited him.”

It was a day of firsts as the $160,000 2021 Inglis Classic yearling sale purchase gave his sire Russian Revolution a breakthrough Group 1 winner – and there will surely be plenty more.

Communist in fact clinched the first two of his four wins so far at Hawkesbury.

He won a 1400m 2YO Maiden Plate there last June and then, after a short break, a Class 1 Handicap (1300m) in August at the beginning of his three-year-old season.

Communist beat four rivals in a 3 & 4YO Benchmark 68 Handicap (1600m) at the Newcastle Cup carnival in September, and has subsequently shown his effectiveness at the ‘mile’.

Freedman, who said he was happy when international ace Purton settled Communist in a good position soon after the start and knew he would get every chance to figure in the finish, now has to decide whether his gelding stretches out to the 2000m of the $600,000 Rosehill Guineas on Saturday week or tackles older horses in the $1m wfa George Ryder Stakes (1500m) the same day.

The $4m Doncaster Mile on April 1 (Day 1 of The Championships), run over the same course as yesterday’s Guineas, looms as a real target.

Communist’s win gave Hawkesbury its second Group 1 triumph this season; leading trainer Brad Widdup having clinched a breakthrough with Icebath at Flemington last spring.

Freedman notched his 10th winner of the current season from his Hawkesbury base in what was a great day for local stables.

Widdup won the Provincial-Midway Championship Qualifier (1400m) at home with Phearson, and husband and wife trainers Jason Attard and Lucy Keegan-Attard landed the opener at Randwick yesterday with $26 shot Luvoir.

The treble lifted the number of winners trained out of Hawkesbury so far this season to 126.

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