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Lucas shows his class

28th February, 2012

Lucas Cranach lived up to Lee Freedman's prediction of being a weight-for-age horse when he returned to racing in brilliant style to win the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (WFA, 1800m) at Caulfield last Saturday.

Lucas Cranach, who ran a wonderful third behind Dunaden in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup in the spring, is now set for the Group 1 Australian Cup (WFA, 2000m) at Flemington next month.

Caretaker trainer Freedman prophetically said in the spring of the German import - "he is a weight-for-age horse in the autumn if we can get his feet right." And so it proved.

Lucas Cranach settled back and came with a powerful burst to beat another German import, Bart Cummings' Illo, in a performance that rocketed him to the top of the Australian Cup betting charts.

Trainer Anthony Freedman was enthusiastic about Lucas Cranach's performance after the race. "We suspected last spring that he might be able to make the (weight-for-age) grade and to see him do that at a distance well under his preferred trip, was pretty impressive," he told Andrew Eddy of The Age.

"Flemington looks to be a perfect track for him and so we can go to the Australian Cup pretty confident that we've got the right horse to win it."

Freedman said as Lucas Cranach had never raced at 1800 metres before, he was not overly confident before the race. "I think it was important that he came here today and maybe not win, but run particularly well, given he was going to run in weight-for-age races," he said.

"You don't know that they are weight-for-age horses until they do it, so I was pretty impressed with his acceleration."

The win completed a near perfect day for jockey Nash Rawiller, who scored earlier on King Mufhasa and was then luckless when second on No Looking Back in the Blue Diamond Stakes. He had never ridden either King Mufhasa or Lucas Cranach. "I'm very excited about the opportunity to ride Lucas Cranach and hopefully we can continue the association," Rawiller said. "He switched off beautifully and he showed a tremendous turn of foot."

Freedman also was delighted with the performance of his filly Armed For Action, who finished third behind Samaready in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes. "She ran right up to her best, and for her to hold on after challenging four wide on the turn was a very good performance," he said.

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