Trainer Robert Hickmott is pleased with what he has seen in a jump-out from imported galloper Django Freeman at Caulfield.
Purpose-bought for the major spring carnival races, Tuesday’s jump-out over 800m at Caulfield was the first serious hit-out Hickmott has given the horse since Django Freeman arrived in Melbourne.
After clearing quarantine on August 31, Django Freeman was transferred to Hickmott’s Caulfield stable to prepare for his Australian debut, the Turnbull Stakes (2000m) t Flemington on October 5.
“He wasn’t there for a gut busting jump-out but he showed good gate speed,” Hickmott said.
“He was probably lucky they didn’t go hard early but they did build up in the middle of the trial and over the last 200 metres he did pick up, but under no real duress.
“I was pleasantly surprised with in his post-race recovery. He had a little bit of a blow, but nothing major.”
Hickmott said Django Freeman’s performance in the Turnbull Stakes would determine his spring path.
Django Freeman has 53kg in the Caulfield Cup, 52.5kg in the Melbourne Cup and has an entry for the Cox Plate.
While attractively weighted in the Cups, Django Freeman could be Cox Plate-bound if successful in the Turnbull Stakes with the lure of a $1 million bonus.
Hickmott said Django Freeman would need another couple of gallops before the Turnbull Stakes, and said he doubted the horse would be 100 per cent fit for his Australian debut.
“That’s probably not ideal going into a Group One, but hopefully there’s bigger things to come,” Hickmott said.
“We haven’t done a heap with him and those imports coming off a European preparation hold good residual fitness, plus he’s an athletic type.”
Hickmott has adjusted to training at Caulfield after spending time at Macedon Lodge where he prepared Melbourne Cup winners Green Moon and Almandin for Lloyd and Nick Williams.
“It was such a relaxed environment up there,” Hickmott said.
“But he (Django Freeman) did come off a large training complex in Cologne with a lot of horses around so it’s not foreign to him.
“But for stayers, talking to Lloyd about, Macedon Lodge is just the best environment to get the horses to relax and get the long, slow miles into their legs.
“You wouldn’t hurt them, but you could get a good fitness base underneath them before any undue pressure was applied.”