iskander

Rain to present a gifted for Metrop winner


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Champion trainer Lee Freedman would be one of those happy if Sydney’s weather turned nasty ahead of Speed Gifted’s attempt to win Saturday’s Group III Chairman’s Stakes (2600m) at Randwick.

Speed Gifted will return to the scene of his career-best win in the Chairman’s Stakes. The French-bred gelding won the Group I Metropolitan Handicap (2400m) on a heavy track in October 2009.

“He handles the wet well. He won the Metropolitan Handicap here (Randwick) on a very heavy track,” Freedman said.

Speed Gifted lost form after the Sydney triumph. The son of Montjeu managed only a placing in the Group I Ranvet Stakes (2000m) in seven starts before Freedman located the source of the seven-year-old’s troubles.

Throat issues required Speed Gifted to undergo a wind operation to preserve his career. Freedman said the surgery was a success but he was still anxious to see Speed Gifted produce a glimpse of form.

Speed Gifted finished down the track in the Group II St George Stakes (1800m) before the import ran a strong third with 59.5kg in the Albury Gold Cup (2000m) on March 25.

“He’s had a wind operation since the spring,” Freedman said. “Albury was a real watershed race for him.

“He is a very good handicap horse and back under handicap conditions he had the second top weight and the winner beat him about a length into third.

“He gave the winner about five or six kilos in weight. I was really happy with his run and he will be well suited in the Chairman’s (Handicap).”

Top local jockey Hugh Bowman rode the gelding in the Albury Gold Cup. Bowman will stick with the son of Montjeu in the Chairman’s Handicap.