All roads lead to the Melbourne Cup for Anthony and Sam Freedman-trained contender Realm Of Flowers after a stylish victory in the $400,000 Andrew Ramsden at Flemington.
It is the second time in three years the father-son combination has qualified a Cup starter through the “win and you’re in” Ramsden following the success of Steel Prince in 2019.
Unlike Steel Prince, who denied Surprise Baby in a pulsating photo finish, Realm Of Flowers never looked like losing a long way out.
Freedman confirmed plans to keep Realm Of Flowers in work through the winter – without racing her – to give the progressive four-year-old stayer every chance to bank a “nice cheque” in November.
“Whether you run in the Caulfield Cup, it wouldn’t worry me,” Anthony Freedman said.
“The whole thing will be aimed at the one race and how we get there is almost irrelevant.
“The race (Cup) you wold think is going to be a bit short on certainly the overseas horses … she deserves a chance and I’d say she can get a nice cheque.”
It capped a strong campaign from the daughter of So You Think after a pair of placings in Sydney and a luckless fifth in the Sydney Cup as favourite.
Freedman considered spelling the mare in Queensland after the Sydney Cup but the owners twisted his arm about coming back to Melbourne for a tilt at the Cup golden ticket.
“Ten days ago I was really starting to be really happy with her and I knew today she’d put in a big effort,” Freedman said.
“She‘s a mare that’s fit, like one of those long distance runners … she’s fit most of the time.”
Mark Zahra returns to scale with Realm Of Flowers. Picture: Vince Caligiuri/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Realm Of Flowers firmed in Melbourne Cup betting from $51 to $18 with TAB after winning the 2800m feature.
Star jockey Mark Zahra rode Realm Of Flowers like the best stayer in the race and the four-year-old mare didn’t disappoint, gliding into contention from back in the field approaching the home bend.
“Exciting for all the owners with a ticket into the Melbourne Cup,” Zahra said.
“She’d be a live chance. A fantastic stayer and she gave me a beautiful ride today. I was a winner a long way out.”
Grand Promenade ran a huge race for second despite sitting on speed behind leader Constantinople.
Miami Bound out-bobbed Persan for third, but neither of the fancied runners posed a serious threat as Realm Of Flowers, a winner exactly 12 months ago in Adelaide, relished the soft conditions.
“I’m not saying she’s a wet-tracker. Just saying I think she lets down a tiny bit better,” Zahra said.
“I knew I had Grand Promenade and Persan covered. I was just worried if Miami Bound had followed me through. I looked at the big screen, took a few breaths and eased down.”
Realm Of Flowers gave the Freedman combination a twin-state double after Victoria Derby winner Warning saluted in Brisbane.
Originally published asMelbourne Cup in mare’s Realm of possibility
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