Grandioso winning on debut at Bendigo (Image: Racing Photos)
Lee Freedman admits to being surprised at the blazing start Grandioso has made to his racing career, but he thinks he has enough in his favour to complete the hat-trick at Flemington this Saturday.
The son of Sebring is the $2.50 favourite for the $100,000 Saintly Hall Of Fame Trophy that kicks off the nine-race card.
The 1400-metre event follows a debut win over 1000m at Bendigo, when he got the race on protest, and subsequent 1200m win at the Wagga Carnival, when he charged home from last under 58kg to score in a time of 1:10.04.
The Hall of Fame trainer, who operates in partnership with brother Anthony, concedes this is a further step-up but likes the fact the gelding will carry 1kg less than he lumped at Wagga.
"He's been a real revelation," Freedman said. "He was a cheap yearling and he was going OK then he's come out and he's won his first two starts, albeit by protest the first time, but his sectional times, particularly at Wagga - closing times off giving them a big start - were very impressive.
"Under the conditions of this race, set weights and penalties, he doesn't get the penalty because the money he won at Wagga was only $11,000 (first prize) - plus the $50,000 bonus, but it was Inglis bonus money so not counted towards the penalty.
"He's very well in the race and he's gone on really well."
Tommy Berry rode Grandioso at Wagga, but at Flemington he will be reunited with Daniel Moor, who was aboard when he got the race on protest over Indian Thunder, who bounced back to win a Listed race in Adelaide on May 6.
Grandioso is one of two Flemington runners for the Freedmans, who also have High Mode in one of the day's features, the $200,000 Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes.
The son of Redwood, who is coming off a third placing in the 2800m VRC St Leger, is the lone three-year-old in the 3200m event and while Lee conceded he has a bit against him, getting just 4.5kg off in-form topweight De Little Engine, he is happy to give him his chance.
"I normally wouldn't run a three-year-old in that race, but he looks like a dyed-in-the-wool 3200-metre horse, so why not try him now while he's in good form," he said.
"He's probably not the best off at the weights, against the scale he's probably the worst-off horse in the race, but he definitely will run the two miles in my view."
Daniel Stackhouse will make up the bulk of the 54kg that High Mode will carry and he is a $9 chance in the Andrew Ramsden Stakes market, which is headed by De Little Engine at $2.70.