Sam Freedman is confident Melbourne Cup contender Warning will take plenty of improvement from his first up run in the Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.
The Group 1 VRC Derby winner made a nice return over 1600m, finishing just over three lengths behind winner Fierce Impact.
Freedman, who trains with father Anthony, said Warning would head to the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington next start.
And he’s certain Warning will strip fitter after blowing out the cobwebs on Saturday.
“He was great. He was never going to be suited with that tempo,” Freedman said.
“He held his ground to the line really well and he recorded one of the fastest last furlongs for the race which was good to see.
“It was probably as fat we have had him at the races for a very long time, so he has got a lot of improvement to come naturally as he (progresses).
“He’s on a cups path so he will go to the Turnbull in three weeks’ time.
“He is also just a very good Flemington horse. I think his best runs are there.
“So I think the Turnbull is a nice race to go to with him. And then after that we will assess whether we go to a Caulfield Cup or something else.
“But ultimately we are going to keep him ticking over. He will get a start in the Melbourne Cup, so hopefully we can get him there in perfect order and he will be running the two miles very strongly.”
Warning is currently a $41 chance for the Melbourne Cup.
Billy Egan took the sit on Warning on Saturday, with the ride still available for this year’s Melbourne Cup.
Damien Oliver, who rode the horse to the VRC Derby, is currently committed to Danny O’Brien star Russian Camelot for the race.
Freedman said connections would take it one run at a time when it came to jockeys.
“It’s very much run-by-run. He rode it very well yesterday. There was nothing he done wrong there,” Freedman said.
“We will be in constant chats with the owners, they seem happy with how he went yesterday, so there were no issues from our end.”
Meanwhile, Freedman said he was pleased with how Southbank returned in the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m).
“She was great. First-up for nearly seven months, it’s a tough ask going to 1400m first up,” he said.
“We gave her the three trials but we probably didn’t get the ground work into her. In her last trial she got caught up in behind and we probably needed her to have a tougher trial.
“She got very tired yesterday but she showed she’s back near her best.
“She’s got a lot of improvement on her. She will probably head to the Blazer Stakes on the same day as the Turnbull.
“There’s a race like and Empire Rose that could suit and then there’s also a Matriarch that could suit. We will get a guide at her next start (on where we go).”
Supreme Idea finished fifth in the Listed Cap D’Antibes.
“She was honest. She puts in every time, she is racing really well,” he said.
“She is probably a notch below those really good three-year-old fillies.
“We will probably head to the (Group 3) Scarborough with her, 1200m around The Valley.”