Freedmans’ Champion out until spring racing carnival

Brisbane’s wet tracks have prompted Sam and Anthony Freedman to pull up stumps with the horse they hope could be their next spring star for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum.

Royal Champion, the imported gelding who was being prepared along similar lines to what Without A Fight was this time last year, will not be seen this season.

The six-year-old got to trial stage in Queensland but did not accept for last Saturday’s Group 3 Lord Mayor’s Cup (1800m) at Eagle Farm and will not contest the $1.2m The Q22 (2200m) at the same track on June 15.

Without A Fight, who also sports Sheikh Mohammed Obaid’s yellow and black colours, won both of those races last year before going on to win the Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup double.

Sam Freedman said Royal Champion is at his best on Good tracks and the Brisbane campaign had not gone exactly how they would have liked.

“You won’t see him until the spring in Melbourne,” Freedman said.

“We’ve just elected not to push on.

“He was going all right but just with the tracks and everything, and preparing him up, it was just going to take a bit longer.”

Royal Champion is an $18 chance in a Cox Plate market headed by Pride Of Jenni ($4.50) off the back of encouraging European form that yielded four wins and as many placings from 13 starts.

The son of Shamardal has not started since finishing second to Nations Pride in the Group 1 Canadian International (2012m) in October last year, which followed a third placing in the Group 2 York Stakes (2112m) in July, while he is a two-time Listed winner at 2012m.

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