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First Command repeats Kensington victory
Mike Hedge
07:40 AEST Sun Jan 20 2013

Anthony Freedman celebrated his return to Flemington with a win at his new home track that might have been better than he thought.

Freedman relocated this week from the Markdel training complex he and his brothers set up at Rye, south of Melbourne, to the track where they began training in Melbourne in the early 1980s.

And First Command's victory in the Listed Kensington Stakes (1000m) was the first "official" winner he has sent out from the new stable.

"We had one at Sandown on Wednesday, but it went to the races from Markdel," Freedman said.

The win also proved something of a homecoming for First Command who won the same race 12 months ago.

Last year's success led to a run in the Group One Oakleigh Plate, but Freedman wasn't keen to commit to the same program this season - until he spoke to winning rider Glen Boss.

"He's seven year's old now and he'd have to carry a bit of weight," Freedman said.

But having taken his racetrack earnings to some $930,000, the trainer is keen to give the horse its chance to win $1 million.

And after consulting Boss, he may have softened his attitude toward running in at least one of the major autumn sprints.

Boss told Freedman First Command felt far better than when he won on him at Caulfield two weeks ago and ought to be given his chance.

"You could probably raise the bar again," he told Freedman.

"If there'd been another 200 metres he'd have won even easier."

Starting favourite, First Command ($1.65) won by three-quarters of a length from Light Express ($8.50) with another 1-1/4 lengths to Belfast Boy ($9).

As Freedman celebrated his landmark victory, fellow trainer Rick Hore-Lacy felt like throwing a small party over the run of his newly-acquired veteran, Good Ba Ba.

In his second start since joining Hore-Lacy from Hong Kong, and his second after a 20-month retirement, the 11-year-old Good Ba Ba ran a close fourth.

As he did in his first-up run he ran the fastest closing sections, including a final 200m in 11.19 seconds.

Good Ba Ba will go to the Group Three Carlyon Cup (1600m) at Caulfield on February 9 before his main target - and possibly his final race - in the $2 million Group One Doncaster Mile.

"That's the one that's going to suit him best," Hore-Lacy said.

"That's his distance and that's the direction he's shown he's best at."


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