A brief look at the Randwick undercard

Mandy Cottell and Mathew Toogood look back on the 10-race program at Randwick and bring you the talking points of the undercard.

Trainer : Mitchell Freedman.
Trainer : Mitchell Freedman. Picture: Colin Bull / Sportpix

Ceerseven scores Sydney first for Freedman

A decision to bring Ceerseven to Randwick has paid off with the four-year-old giving Victorian trainer Mitchell Freedman his first Sydney winner.

Freedman notched his first Group 1 win with Attrition in last spring's Toorak Handicap at Caulfield but has had few runners in NSW.

He was delighted to watch on as Ceerseven chimed in strongly to win Saturday's Inglis Classic Yearling Sale 11-13 Feb Handicap (1600m) by a short-neck under visiting Melbourne jockey Ben Melham.

"We've only had a handful of runners (in Sydney), a few in bigger races so it's been really good," Freedman said of Ceerseven giving him a first Sydney win.

"It's good that some of the owners have travelled up."

Freedman revealed they had initially slated the benchmark 78 for three and four-year-olds for another galloper in the barn before electing to send Ceerseven north for the race.

"My racing manager and I actually had this race pencilled in for Vagrant and she was able to get the job done for us last week at Caulfield," Freedman said.

"We thought this horse might fill the void.

"It was always something we had on our radar with those horses that are lightly raced and four-year-olds and can run a mile. He ran the mile out strongly there."

Ceerseven notched his fourth win from nine starts and second in succession after winning at The Valley in Melbourne two weeks ago.

Waller stars step out in exhibition gallops

Militarize, Fangirl and Buckaroo have all continued preparations for their campaign returns with exhibition gallops at Randwick, however, whether Militarize joins his stablemates in next week's Apollo Stakes is still to be decided.

Multiple Group One-winning three-year-old Militarize galloped over 1000m with Buckaroo, sitting off his stablemate early before moving up in the straight to be almost on terms as they hit the winning post.

Buckaroo was clocked at 1:02.84 seconds for the 1000m with his final 600m in 35.76 seconds, while star mare Fangirl worked solo, recording 1:04.83 seconds with a final 600m sectional of 36.50 seconds.

Trainer Chris Waller was satisfied with the workouts.

"They are pretty well prepared," Waller said.

"All three of them have had two trials and today, it's just a fill-in day to make sure that they are fit and ready to go next week if we want to."

Waller said Fangirl and Buckaroo would resume in next Saturday's Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) while Militarize will either go to the same race or wait a week for the Hobartville Stakes (1400m).

"Militarize, we're still weighing up whether we run there and then three weeks into the Randwick Guineas, or the Hobartville the following week which would enable him to race against his own age group."

Top filly tunes-up for Light Fingers return

Waller's trio weren't the only ones to step out in exhibition gallops with Annabel Neasham sending around three-year-olds Learning To Fly and Libertad over 1000 metres.

The pair covered the journey in 1:01.91 seconds with Learning To Fly striding out nicely to edge out her stablemate on the line.

Neasham confirmed the filly, who hasn't been seen since she was put out of play in last year's Golden Slipper, would kick off next weekend in the Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) at Randwick.

"She is a fair bit further forward fitness-wise than Libertad, he's only had one trial, but I thought he'd be a good work mate to come with and that was really nice work from them both," Neasham said.

Libertad, who won the San Domenico Stakes (1100m) first-up in the spring, will have another barrier trial before he heads to the races.

"We'll see how he trials, there are going to be races like the Arrowfield (Sprint) for him," Neasham said.

"He is pretty much dynamite first-up as well and loves 1100, whether we have a look at a race like the Galaxy with a light weight….we'll just get through this second trial then we will work it out from there.

"But he has come back big and strong and he will take a bit more to get fit because he's a man now."

Williams gelding Rocks into Country Champs contention

Danny Williams is hoping to get up to three runners into the Country Championships Final with Atmospheric Rock putting himself in the frame with a barnstorming Highway Handicap win.

Williams will see what rating the four-year-old is given after Saturday before deciding whether he needs to contest another Highway Handicap, or preferably goes straight to the Country Championships Qualifier at Moruya on March 3.

"We turned the horse out last preparation aiming at the Country Championships," Williams said.

"He's the right mould of horse, low in the weights, lightly raced, good form horse, 1400-metre specialist.

"He's just got that upside about him and we planned a bit of a preparation and today was part of it."

William confirmed he was also hoping to qualify impressive first-up winner Bandi's Boy and stablemate Stormy Witness for the Final.

Atmospheric Rock ($4.40) settled well back in the big field before unleashing a sharp turn of foot for Jason Collett to overhaul Nipotino ($26), also trained at Goulburn by Williams' former foreperson Danielle Seib.

"This is a pretty hot Highway today and I think it's the strongest one he's run in. He acquitted himself well and on the line, it was a soft win," Williams said.


Quote of the Day: "His turn of foot was electric." – Winning jockey Josh Parr on Eskimo Prince Stakes victor Caballus.