MONDAY: October 17, 2022: MICHAEL Freedman reverted to a successful recipe at Muswellbrook today to clinch another win with well-bred mare Prize Draw.
The Dundeel four-year-old, a member of the Royal Randwick trainer’s second stable at Hawkesbury, made it two victories from only six starts when she conceded weight to all her rivals in landing the Ray Barry Memorial Class 1 Handicap (1450m).
Given a superb ride by Rory Hutchings, Prize Draw ($3.60 favorite) ran on solidly wide on the track in the straight to defeat former Victorian mare Tapika ($5) and Bridges To Babylon ($5.50).
Freedman opted to take blinkers off Prize Draw and go back to winkers.
“Sometimes horses react negatively rather than positively to blinkers,” Freedman said this afternoon.
“I thought she was a bit plain last time in the blinkers when she ran sixth (beaten five lengths) in a Benchmark 64 Handicap (1500m) at Newcastle on September 17.
“Prize Draw raced in winkers when she easily won her maiden over 1400m at Newcastle in August, so I went back to them for today’s race.
“I thought she did a good job under her 59.5kg topweight, especially as she hadn’t raced in just over four weeks.”
Prize Draw was Freedman’s second winner – Communist at the Newcastle Cup meeting on September 16 was his first – this season from his Hawkesbury base, where he has 24 horses in work.
Now that the mare has returned to winning form, Freedman feels she is ready to step up to 1600m at provincial level.
“I’ll have a look through the programs in the next day or so to see if there is a suitable race in the coming weeks,” he said.
A $350,000 yearling purchase at the Gold Coast in 2020, Prize Draw is a daughter of the Redoute’s Choice mare Opportunity, who won twice in Victoria from only seven starts.
Prize Draw is a younger sister to seven-times Queensland winner Profit, whose successful distances have ranged from 1200m to 1800m.
The mare’s Muswellbrook win followed fellow Randwick trainer John O’Shea’s victory from his Hawkesbury stable with debutante Mistress at Newcastle last Saturday.
. Hugh Bowman has been confirmed as Hawkesbury’s triple Group 1 winning mare Duais’ rider in the $8m Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 1.
Duais turned in an excellent Cup trial when she came from 16th at the 400m to finish eighth to Durston in last Saturday’s $5m Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m), giving an indication she will relish the 3200m.
Trainer Edward Cummings was pleased with her performance, but is yet to decide whether the mare will start again before the famous “two-miler”, although she won’t back up in Saturday’s $5m Group 1 wfa Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley.
“I’m not sure whether she will start again before the Melbourne Cup, but there is the weight-for-age race over 1600m for mares ($1m Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes) at Flemington on Saturday week if I feel she needs another race to top her off,” Cummings said this afternoon.
“I’ll be guided by her progress over the next week.”
Whilst Josh Parr has partnered Duais at her last nine starts (including dual Group 1 victories in the Australian Cup at Flemington and Tancred Stakes at Newcastle earlier this year), Bowman rode the mare earlier in her career and won three races, culminating with the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2200m) at Eagle Farm in June last year.