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Freedmans Open Minded about Group 1 opportunity

Open Minded might have earned himself a throw at the Group 1 stumps after continuing his career progression with a maiden Stakes win at Caulfield on Wednesday.

The Anthony and Sam Freedman-trained gelding cashed in on a brilliant Damien Thornton ride to score an all-the-way win in the $160,000 Listed John Dillon Stakes (1400m).

It was the son of Jimmy Choux’s ninth win from 18 starts and fourth in as many starts at Caulfield, which Sam Freedman said may warrant a crack at the Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at the same track on February 12.

“He’s a horse that has gone to a new level. Today was his biggest test but he’s a race-fit horse, and he’s passed that test,” Sam Freedman said.

“His rating is going to go up again. Really, the 1400 (metres) at Caulfield suits. A race like the Orr Stakes or something like that. I’m not sure if he’s up to them, but we’ll get him home and work it out.”

After being well-rated by Thornton in the middle stages, Open Minded ($4.80) kicked clear in the first half of the straight before holding on to score from $1.95 favourite Lighthouse in a time of 1:22.33, which clipped 0.16secs off Morvada’s class record and was just over one second outside Exceed And Excel’s 1:21.20 track record.

The margin between first and second was half-a-length with the same distance between Lighthouse and third placegetter Excelida ($13).

“He can quicken off a good speed and that’s where Caulfield suits him so well,” Thornton said. “He can kick off that bend and they can’t catch him.”

The victory completed a Stakes-grade double for the Freedmans, who won the Listed Blue Diamond Colts & Geldings Preview with Daumier, who was ridden by Damian Lane.

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