Trainer Michael Freedman looks to have unearthed a potential star in the making after his three-year-old gelding Rite Of Spring recorded a comfortable victory in the $75,000 Kindness Stakes Progress race over 1200m on Sunday.

It was the New Zealand-bred galloper’s third win in five starts – with two other second-place finishes – and his performance had Freedman optimistic about the future of his latest star.

Priced at $8 and lined up in a small field of just six runners, Rite Of Spring (Tommy Berry) was handy throughout the trip and broke clear down the straight to record a 2 ¼ lengths win over Italian Job (K A’isisuhairi) in a respectable time of 1min 10.58secs, within two seconds of the course record of 1min 9secs.

news_inner24a Tommy Berry cruises home aboard Rite Of Spring in Race 6 on Sunday.

“He’s got lots of potential,” said Freedman. “I would rank him among the top echelon of three-year-olds here.

“This was the first opportunity for him to be ridden off the pace and he did a good job. Even when Italian Job went to the front he was able to keep right behind him.

“It was good for his education.”

Enjoying a good trail behind leader Italian Job for the first two thirds of the race, jockey Berry was always confident of his mount’s ability to finish the stronger of the two.

“He’s going to be a good horse if he can relax like he did today,” said the Sydney rider, who at 22 is already Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Gai Waterhouse’s number one stable hoop.

He also expected the son of Stravinsky to mature and progress to longer trips.

“He can be a miler,” observed Berry, who is here on a one-day visiting jockey’s licence after receiving a call from Freedman to partner his Longines Singapore Gold Cup challenger Tropaios later on.

“It’s fantastic for Michael, who put a lot of faith in me,” he said. “I’m delighted to get one in early for him and the owners. It’s great for the owners (China Horse Club) who are great supporters of racing here in Singapore and all over the world. They’re the main reason why I’m here.”

While Freedman had his eye on bigger prizes on Sunday, with two runners saddled for the $1.35 million Gold Cup, he was also busy making plans for Rite Of Spring, who has already collected over $130,000 in stakes during his short career.

“The next step for him would be to move up in distance, to 1400m and 1600m,” he said. “He’ll go for a spell now before I bring him back next year and we will target the 3YO series.”

- Article by Jonathan Wong -