It’s time for talented filly Freedom Is to shine. The regally bred harness racing three-year-old filly has landed the coveted inside gate in Saturday night’s Gr.1 $75,000 Queensland Oaks at Albion Park.
And owner/trainer Phillip Thurston couldn’t be happier.
“We needed a good draw and we got it; the filly is racing in excellent form and should acquit herself well but Nike Franco is obviously going to be very hard to beat.” Thurston said.
Freedom Is heads into the Oaks feature brimming with confidence following her gritty performance when successful in the Seymour Rising Stars Championship Final at Albion Park in a career best time of 1;55.9.
That victory proved to be her first on Queensland soil despite boasting several feature race placing’s.
The Courage Under Fire – Alegria filly has always found herself as the bridesmaid and never the bride after placing’s in the Nursery Pace Finals as a two-year-old while placed again this season plus being placed in the Gold Coast Oaks.
“This filly is consistent and she tries very hard but often we’ve found one a little better on the night but we get a perfect opportunity to make our own luck from this draw, I was thrilled with drawing the inside gate because she has very good gate speed.
“Winning last week provides a perfect platform going into this race; this has been a target all season long and head into the race with confidence. It was great that she fought like she did last week because she was headed in the straight but kicked strongly and that’s important going into an Oaks feature.
“This little filly tries very hard and she deserves a big race success so let’s just hope it’s our turn this weekend. She has trained on very well this week and continues to thrive here in the warmer sunshine plus Brad (Cowen – driver) is driving in very good form.”
Future plans for Freedom Is remain unclear and a decision won’t be made until after the Queensland Oaks on whether she will chase the Australasian Breeders Crown series in Melbourne next month.
Last season, Freedom Is qualified for the rich final and finished a career worst 8th behind Whereibylong.
“I won’t make any firm plans until next week, the focus is clearly the Queensland Oaks and we’ll just get through that race first before locking down any plans.
“We’ve got the option of starting her in a heat up here and we also have the Redcliffe Oaks as a target but the filly will decide which way we go. It’s been a long season already but it’s also been very rewarding.”
And it could prove even more rewarding with a Queensland Oaks victory this weekend.
by Chris Barsby
Queensland Harness Racing