A Group One assignment in Queensland is in the offing for talented two-year-old Not An Option if he performs well at Randwick on Saturday.
Owned by a prominent group of New Zealand racing and breeding identities, including Cambridge Stud principals Brendan and Jo Lindsay, Not An Option will have his first start for new trainers Richard and Michael Freedman in the Darley 2YO Handicap (1300m).
The son of Not A Single Doubt has been lumped with the topweight of 60kg but his trainers are confident of a solid showing after his 1040m trial placing at Randwick last week.
“It was a good trial,” Michael Freedman said. “He got back and made up a nice bit of ground.
“It looks a nice race on Saturday albeit he will be carrying a bit of weight. We will just have to see what the track comes up, but with forecast rain we are probably going to be in the heavy range, which may not be ideal carrying that weight.
“It is a fair bit of weight to carry, but he seems to be going well.”
The Freedman brothers have also elected to make a gear change ahead of Saturday.
“He has got the blinkers going on on Saturday because he looks a horse that might appreciate getting the blinkers just to sharpen him up a little bit,” Freedman said.
He will have the services of leading Sydney jockey James McDonald and jump from barrier six.
Not An Option had two runs over the Sydney Autumn Carnival for former trainer Tony Pike, but was in the care of the Freedman stable with Pike’s staff returning home to New Zealand as a result of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
He ran third first-up in the Gr.3 Kindergarten Stakes (1100m) before finishing sixth in the Gr.1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) and Freedman was happy enough with both runs.
“He came over and we looked after him for Tony Pike due to the whole coronavirus situation,” Freedman said. “Once he was going to stay on and race, the stewards deemed that he had to stay in a trainers name over here.
“His run in the Champagne was good. He didn’t get a whole lot of luck and arguably could have finished a little bit closer than what he did.
“But his form right through since he has been over here seems to have been pretty good without a great deal of luck.
“He is a nice, big, strong colt. He is well put together, he is pretty typical of the stallion.”
TAB bookmakers have installed Not An Option as a $5 third favourite in Saturday’s contest behind the Chris Waller-trained Overlord ($3.40) and undefeated colt Peltzer ($3.50).
He is earmarked to head north to Queensland after this weekend where he will target the Gr.1 JJ Atkins (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 6.
“If he runs well enough on Saturday then there would be the possibility that he would go up to the JJ Atkins in Brisbane,” Freedman said.
Not An Option was purchased out of Curraghmore’s 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sale Book 1 draft by Tony Pike, for whom he won two of his four starts in New Zealand, including the Gr.2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m) and was runner-up in the Gr.2 Eclipse Stakes (1200m). – NZ Racing Desk