Django Freeman ready for Australian debut

Mathew Toogood
German Derby placegetter Django Freeman is entered to make his Australian debut at Flemington

German import Django Freeman is on track to make his Australian debut at Flemington, more than seven months later than trainer Robert Hickmott had hoped.

Last year's German Derby runner-up arrived in Australia in August land was being set for a spring carnival campaign but that plan was aborted when he suffered a knee injury at trackwork in September.

Hickmott had planned to run the import in the Group One Turnbull Stakes at Flemington last October as a guide to whether he could be a Cox Plate contender or Cups candidate.

Django Freeman required surgery to remove a knee chip and after being given the time to recuperate, the four-year-old is scheduled to kick off his Australian career in a 1600m handicap at Flemington on Saturday.

"He hyper-extended his knee during trackwork and had a small chip removed," Hickmott said.

"It's been relatively straightforward with ongoing treatments and I've been very happy with his work over the last two weeks.

"He continues to improve with the fitness under his belt and he'll have his last hit-out at Sandown on Tuesday before going into the race at Flemington."

Stablemate and fellow German import Schabau returned from a tendon injury with a midfield finish over 2000m at Flemington on Saturday.

Django Freeman won three of his six starts in Germany, including victory in the Group Three Bavarian Classic (2000m).

He finished second to Laccario twice in feature races including his most recent start in the Group One German Derby (2400m) last July.

"His German form was exceptional," Hickmott said.

"He did bump into a good horse on the day, Laccario, but ran a gallant second in the German Derby after winning the Bavarian Classic and running second in another one of the lead-ups.

"How he fits into Australian racing is still a bit up in the air, whether he's a Cox Plate horse or a Caulfield or Melbourne Cup horse is still to be decided.

"We'll learn along the way with him this preparation.

"He'll have a couple of runs and then probably go for a short break and come back for his spring preparation."

Hickmott hopes Django Freeman can prove himself to be a Cox Plate contender given he is still an entire and stallion prospect.