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Earning a free ticket into the Melbourne Cup is next on the agenda for imported stayer Steel Prince

Earning a free ticket into the Melbourne Cup is next on the agenda for imported stayer Steel Prince who has continued his unbeaten preparation with a hard-fought victory at Flemington.

Steel Prince, ridden by apprentice Michael Poy, made it four wins from as many starts since joining trainer Anthony Freedman before his current campaign, sitting on the pace before holding on to take out Saturday’s Brew Handicap (2600m).

The plan is now for the stayer to run in the Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes (2800m) at Flemington in three weeks, a race which has been revamped this year.

The Andrew Ramsden has been reduced from 3200m to 2800m and is restricted to three, four and five year olds with the winner to earn a ballot exemption into this year’s Melbourne Cup.

“He did it the tough way today facing the breeze and sitting on the pace,” assistant trainer Sam Freedman said.

“He’s probably better ridden just with a couple in front of him but certainly he’s a horse we’ve been targeting the Andrew Ramsden with.

“That’s been the target the whole way through so he will be rock-hard fit after that run, I’d say, and he will be ready to go.”

Steel Prince ($1.80) sat outside leader Miner’s Rest during the run and kept rallying in the straight to beat Sin To Win by a neck with a half-head to Adelaide Cup winner Surprise Baby who charged home late under 60kg, 6kg more than the winner carried.

“We said to be in the first six but we probably didn’t intend on being outside the leader,” Freedman said.

“But he’s a horse who can get quite keen and you don’t want to be restraining him and taking his breathing away from him.

“It’s a long straight and I was glad he held on for as long as he did.”

Poy, who brought up a winning double at the meeting on Milwaukee in the last race, was later suspended for eight meetings for careless riding aboard Steel Prince going out of the home straight the first time.

The Freedman stable also had a winning double at the meeting with Ridgewood Drive’s four-length win in the Zipping Handicap (2000m) setting him up for a likely South Australian Derby start next Saturday.

 
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