It was tough going for punters in Sydney but in Melbourne, the Freedman-trained Artorious was the headliner in the Blue Diamond, upsetting his more fancied rivals at a big price. MICK SHARKIE wraps it all up in the Saturday Hangover.
FREEDMAN’S WORK OF ART-ORIOUS
Sam Freedman is a class act. After going “right off” as two-year-old colt, Artorious smashed the line to win the $1.5million Blue Diamond, giving Freedman his first Group 1 win since joining in partnership with his father Anthony, the young trainer straightened up, composed himself and hit the media scrum like an old pro.
“It’s a big thrill,” he said succinctly before thanking all and sundry, the team behind the Freedman brand which he has become the latest face of.
Racing families are a big deal in the Australian racing landscape…think of Smith/Waterhouse, Hayes, Hoysted, Hutchinson…Freedman is right up there with them and Sam Freedman is the new racing face of that name.
And in Artorious the Freedman’s might have found a new stable star.
While favourite Enthaar was running Bolt-like times in front with absolute ease early in the race – ultimately a tempo that she could not sustain – Artorious was in behind the pack, switching on and off, looking like a new colt at a big dance – until he found clear at the 250m and hit top gear.
“It was an amazing feeling that last bit,” said winning jockey Luke Currie.
What a win. What a ride.
ARTORIUS is the Blue Diamond Stakes winner for 2021! pic.twitter.com/hDUoVe89DG
— 7HorseRacing 🐎 (@7horseracing) February 20, 2021
PROBABEEL & ARCADIA SET FOR MILE SHOWDOWN
Although the All Star Mile has had more media coverage than it ought to have in the last month given the length of time from the race and the quality of week to week Group 1 racing, the novelty mile now has a heavyweight talking point as Probabeel and Arcadia Queen get ready to lock horns at The Valley.
Probabeel completed a double on Orr and Futurity days at Caulfield but a fat Arcadia Queen put the writing on the wall that the All Star Mile might be a much closer contest with a super first-up run.
“That’s what she had today…hopefully there’s a bit more improvement for come and she’ll be better again,” said Willie Pike after Arcadia’s return.
“I put her in the race early and not many horses can sustain a sprint from as far out as she did,” said Damian Lane of Probabeel.
Punters, choose your corner – the Queen from the West or the Kiwi super-mare.
PUNTERS HURTING IN SYDNEY
Wowee was it a tough day for favourite backers at Rosehill.
A track that started heavy and nearly ended a Soft 5 brought a few fancies unstuck, namely hot favourite Vowmaster, Yao Dash, Madame Rouge, Paulele, Peltzer and Lackeen – who was $4 – $2.80 to blast out in the last.
Sacramento and Emanate kept the lights on in the middle of the card but come the final siren the damage had been done for most. Roll on Randwick please!
PORTLAND AND CANADA CASH IN
Putting myself in for this one…on the way to the races Saturday morning and the phone beeps.
“Hey bro, Dan has got Portland Sky in today he’s coming for you coz you didn’t mention it on radio – why not?” said Chris from Canada.
“Because I don’t think it can win.” was the reply.
“So, you’re telling me my $100 each-way is not a good idea?” shot Chris back over the bow.
I said a little prayer for my Canadian pal and carried on with the journey, commenting to Luke the Smartarse – my mate’s son and our Uber for the day “You know what will happen now don’t you – Portland Sky will win.”
Reminding myself of a fateful day at the Isle Of Wight Hotel at Cowes 20-odd years ago when, as a teenager, I took four horses in a five horse leg of the quaddie only to be beaten by the horse I didn’t include, I threw Portland Sky in my quad; surely lightning could not strike twice?
Well, it did. Sort of. Portland Sky dead-heated with Celebrity Girl (I still say there was a margin) and Chris from Canada cleaned up “but don’t tell the Mrs, she thinks I had $10 on it,” he said (he had the hundy each-way at 13s and got the quaddie 100 times for good measure).
Sadly for ol’ mate Shark, a three-legged quaddie rubbed salt in the wounds.
You wouldn't believe it!
It's a DEAD-HEAT in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate! 😱 pic.twitter.com/HVRTUYNECK
— Racing.com (@Racing) February 20, 2021
Greed is good so let’s run a Sunday double and fill right up on PAL D’ORO (Ballarat R3) into FLANDERSRAIN (Ballarat R7) and just enjoy the glory of a Sunday sip while watching two marvellous ponies roll home in our favour.