Caulfield Cup favourite Without A Fight has easy trial

Precisely where Without A Fight’s spring path will lead is not yet known, but the highly-rated import took the first step on it at Cranbourne on Monday.

The Anthony and Sam Freedman-trained galloper made his first public appearance since his brilliant Brisbane winter campaign with a soft 1000-metre trial.

The son of Teofilo finished second-last, beaten around seven lengths by trial winner Steinem, but earned a favourable report from raceday jockey Mark Zahra at his most serious hitout since returning from Queensland around three weeks ago, which left Sam Freedman satisfied.

“He just had an easy time of it, he gave him a little push along late and he started to pick up but we have been conscious of just getting him to settle and relax,” Freedman said.

“He was obviously a little bit keen last prep, so Mark was very happy with him. He said he just relaxed perfectly, they quickened away and left him a little flat-footed, but he was just getting into his work late.

“He had a very big blow, he’ll have another one, maybe another two trials, before we see him at the races, but we got what we wanted to get out of it.”

After an explosive win in the Group 3 Lord Mayor’s Cup (1800m) on May 27, Without A Fight was a dominant winner of the $1.2m Group 2 Q22 (2200m) at the same track two weeks’ later.

The seven-year-old is now favourite for the Caulfield Cup (2400m) and the shortest-priced Australian-trained runner in the Cox Plate (2040m), with nominations for those two races closing on Tuesday.

He is also prominent in betting with boombet on the Melbourne Cup, in which he finished 13th last year, but the spring campaign is likely to be geared around one of the earlier spring majors.

The likely starting point is the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on Sunday, October 1, but the Freedmans will make a final call after assessing his rate of improvement after his next trial.

“Probably the Underwood is his most likely (first-up run), but he’ll have another trial, which will leave the Makybe (Diva Stakes) as an option, but we’re probably more likely to wait for the Underwood,” Freedman said.

The Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) will be run at Flemington on Saturday, September 16.

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