Anthony Freedman expects to learn more about German import Waldpark in Saturday’s Makybe Diva Stakes as the Group One winner takes the first steps towards richer spring races.
Waldpark makes his Australian debut in the Group One 1600m weight-for-age race at Flemington where he will be one of three imports making their Australian debuts.
Freedman has had Waldpark for about 10 weeks after he was imported to Australia after finishing a close second to Novellist in a Group Two over 2200m in Germany in May.
“He’s a lovely horse, a very laid-back casual sort of horse,” Freedman said.
“He’s made good solid improvement throughout his preparation.
“He’ll probably find the mile a little sharp on Saturday but as long as I see him finishing the race off strongly or doing a bit towards the end I’ll be happy enough.”
Waldpark won four of his 15 starts in Europe, including the Group One German Derby in 2011, and is nominated for the spring majors.
“His form is very good so you would obviously look at the Caulfield Cup,” Freedman said.
The five-year-old was given 54.5kg when Caulfield Cup weights were released on Wednesday.
Freedman is no stranger to training German imports, having prepared the classy Lucas Cranach and Mawingo.
“They are quite laid back and race a lot better than they work usually. In that respect they’re very similar,” he said.
“He seems a good, tough, genuine horse which the others were.
“I’m still learning a lot about him and I’ll learn a lot more from Saturday.”
Waldpark has never raced at less than 1800m and Freedman has elected to fit the import with blinkers for Saturday’s introduction to Australian racing.
“He may not necessarily wear them through the preparation but certainly at 1600 metres I think it will help get him into the race and get a good hard hit-out out of it,” he said.
“Whether he wears them going forward, we’ll see how he goes.”