Seasoned stayer Alakahan will have an important gear change in the Winter Cup as Richard and Will Freedman bid to coax him back to winning form.
The gelding finished fourth in back-to-back Group races during the Sydney autumn carnival but hasn’t figured in three starts since returning from a short let-up.
However, he did show improvement when midfield in the Premier’s Cup at Eagle Farm last weekend, convincing the Freedmans to press on to Saturday’s Listed 2400m feature at Rosehill – with a gear tweak.
“There is still a bit of improvement to come fitness-wise and we have taken the blinkers off to try to get him to relax a bit more and give him a more dynamic finish,” co-trainer Will Freedman said.
“This race was always on the agenda, it wasn’t an afterthought.
“We knew that traditionally this race falls away because the better stayers are up in Queensland at this time of year and he is probably a level below them.
“It was the right race to target.”
Two of Alakahan’s three wins have been over the 2400m Winter Cup journey, a distance that is also in the sweet spot for his Matthew Smith-trained rival Pappalino.
Pappalino is yet to miss a place in three starts at the trip and Smith expects his charge to be ready to peak after three runs back.
“He has needed a couple of runs to get fit, he is nice and fit now and he’s ready to go,” Smith said.
The Freedmans are also looking forward to the return of Notions in the Farewell Nevesh Ramdhani Handicap (1400m).
The filly has been off the scene since finishing seventh in the Gloaming Stakes (1800m) last spring and while she will improve once she is stepped up in trip, Will Freedman says she has returned in good order.
“She has definitely got her share of ability,” Freedman said.
“I wasn’t in the partnership when Richard and Michael were racing her last prep, but they threw her in the Gloaming because they had an opinion of her.
“She was OK in her first couple of trials, but we really liked the way she finished off in her most recent trial, she just kept finding the line.”
– RAS NewsWire