As a younger brother to three-time Group One winner Shoals, expectations have been high for Groundswell who makes his reappearance in the Manfred Stakes at Caulfield.
Sam Freedman, assistant trainer to his father Anthony, believes maturity and race experience will help Groundswell deliver on those expectations, even as early as in Saturday’s Group Three Manfred Stakes.
Groundswell will race without blinkers on Saturday, an indication the penny has finally dropped.
“We’ve trialled him both times this prep without the blinkers,” Freedman said.
“He was a bit green and didn’t know what was going on in his first two preparations and he really needed the blinkers then, but he knows what it’s all about now.
“He never used to work super without the blinkers, but he’s working really well without them now, so we don’t think they’re needed at this stage.
“That’s not to say he might not have them on again later in the prep, but we’re happy without them for Saturday.”
Freedman said the stable wants Groundswell ridden cold from the widest barrier with the expectation the colt will deliver an explosive turn of foot.
While Groundswell finished third to stablemate Super Seth in the Caulfield Guineas and filled the same placing behind Dalasan in the Carbine Club Stakes at Flemington, both at 1600m, Freedman said Groundswell may not head to the Australian Guineas on March 7.
“We want to see how he goes on Saturday and work out what his best trip is,” Freedman said.
“We think he might be a 1200 and 1400 metre horse as opposed to being a miler.
“There’s a few different options for him, but we’ll learn a bit more about him on Saturday.”
Super Seth also runs with Freedman saying he will need everything to go right on Saturday.
A 2.5kg penalty for his Guineas win combined with the inside draw are viewed as negatives.
“He’s probably better drawn out wide where he can get to the outside and chase them down,” Freedman said.
“But it’s only a small field and he’s first-up.
“He’ll settle midfield, or a touch worse and then he’ll just need some breaks to come at the right time.”
Freedman pointed out Super Seth was successful first-up last campaign over 1200m at Caulfield and was working well ahead of his return.
“He looks great and obviously has some tightening up to do towards the Guineas, but he’s certainly fit enough to run really well at 1200 metres,” Freedman said.