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01/03/02 Don's Derby Aspirations on the Line in Shannon
r2doneduardo.jpg (12356 bytes)Australian Derby aspirations for record breaking yearling purchase Don Eduardo go on the line in tomorrow's $201,000 Shannons Classic (1800m) at Caulfield.

Knocked down to Gooree Park Stud's Eduardo Conjuangco for $3.6 million at the 2000 Karaka yearling sales, Don Eduardo has won his past three races, but the Group Two event on Saturday is a major test for the son of Zabeel.

A three quarter brother to the champion galloper and promising young sire Octagonal and his former star brother Mouawad, Don Eduardo impressed with a good win in last Saturday's Schweppes Cup.

Connections aren't worried about the colt having to back up quickly since his win at the same track seven days earlier.

r2doliver.jpg (12211 bytes)"Lee was thinking about keeping him fresh for the Rosehill Guineas but decided if he was to run in the Shannons (Classic) he would be better suited for the races in Sydney," his jockey Damien Oliver said.

Freedman is set to run Don Eduardo in the Group One Rosehill Guineas (2000m), a race which will be run a fortnight after tomorrow's event.

"With the two week break between tomorrow's race and the Rosehill Guineas it should hold him in good stead for the Derby," Oliver added.

The Group One Australian Derby at Randwick two weeks after the Rosehill Guineas in Don Eduardo's major goal this preparation.

Freedman feels the blueblood is suited to race like the Derby as he tends to settle so well in his races.

"Being a bit of a lazy horse he tends to really turn off during his races and Damien is forced to get into him to bring him to life," he said.

Don Eduardo is one of three runners for Freedman in the Shannons Classic. He will also be saddling up the filly Manang and the handy Group winner All Courage.

r2doneduardo2.jpg (9802 bytes)"It's a harder race (for Don Eduardo) than last week's Schweppes Cup," the Caulfield based trainer said.

"This (the 1800 metre dstance) may be a bit short, but it will keep him on course for his targets in Sydney."

"But that's not to say he can't win on Saturday," he added.

Freedman isn't expecting too much from Manang in tomorrow's race, as like stablemate Moon Dragon she is being aimed for the riches in New South Wales.

"I don't expect her to trouble the colts here."

"She is preparing for the Oaks in Sydney and this race is an important part of her lead up," he said.

All Courage, a winner of the Carbine Club Stakes last spring before a gallant second to Moon Dragon in the Sandown Guineas, is being tested at the trip.

"Trying him over a longer journey is a bit of an experiment. He will gain further fitness from this race and I really think the longer trip will suit."

r2rtosc.jpg (11856 bytes)Oliver was forced to choose between Don Eduardo and the Victoria Derby winner Amalfi for his ride in the Shannons.

"My connection with the Freedman stable and the fact the owner of him (Don Eduardo) is Eduardo Conjuangco helped make the decision for me."

Oliver said that Amalfi was a "very good horse and went excellent first up" just moments before it was announced that Amalfi was officially scratched from the race.

So I guess Damien's already had one win - maybe the other is coming tomorrow.

Don Eduardo is rated a $4.60 second favourite behind the firm David Hall trained fancy Royal Code ($3.00). Others in the market supplied by Alan Eskander were Ustinov ($5.50) and All Courage ($10). The market was framed before the news of Amalfi's scratching was revealed. At the time Eskander had rated Amalfi a $7 chance.

PICS - Quentin Lang.

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