There is no doubt that if Artorius can win the Blue Diamond Stakes, his lead-in preparation will stand out as one of the most unorthodox in the event’s history.
Artorius last raced at Sandown on January 23 when he was successful over 1300 metres, streaking away to win by 4-1/2 lengths.
The majority of Blue Diamond winners have used the Blue Diamond Preludes as a launch pad and most have had their final lead-up runs in February.
Co-trainer Sam Freedman admitted they were left in a bind as to what to do with Artorius after his runaway Sandown win.
In the finish, he said their options were to either wait for the Group One Blue Diamond (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday, or send him for a short break.
Despite the unique preparation, Freedman does not dismiss Artorius’ chances saying the likelihood of a fast speed often sets the race up for a backmarker.
“I would be surprised if there wasn’t a lot of pressure,” Freedman said.
“There was when Lyre won a couple of years ago and he’s in the same sort of mould as he’s a horse better suited over 1400 metres.
“With the gap between runs we thought this was a nice race for him.
“We can then work out whether to go to the Sires’ Produce Stakes in Sydney or Melbourne.”
Two years ago, Freedman’s father and co-trainer Anthony was successful with Lyre, who powered home to win from well back in what was a high-pressure race.
Artorius will be ridden by Luke Currie who was successful for the stable on Lyre.
Currie was also going to ride the Freedmans’ Hanseatic, who finished second last year, but had to forgo that mount when he suffered a shoulder injury in a race fall at The Valley the night before the juvenile showpiece.
Freedman confirmed Artorius would wear blinkers for the first time in the Blue Diamond after galloping well in them at Flemington last week.
However, he is wary of star two-year-old and favourite Enthaar and says if she settles in the run and handles the distance rise to 1200 metres, she will be almost impossible to beat.