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Lyre claims Blue Diamond for Freedman

The Freedman name returned on the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) honour roll as Godolphin's famous blue colours were carried to victory for the first time in the race by Lyre on Saturday.

Ridden patiently and perfectly by Luke Currie, the Anthony Freedman-trained Lyre ($7.50) surged from the second half of the field to secure Victoria's richest juvenile race by half a length.

Lankan Star ($41) stalked the pace and weaved through late for second while Free Of Debt ($31) stayed on determinedly from his on-pace position for third.

"She's obviously a quality filly and arguably she should be unbeaten," Freedman said.

"She's kept improving with each run. They ran fairly good time and she was the strongest at the finish."

Currie picked up the ride on Lyre as Damian Lane elected to ride $4.80 equal favourite Loving Gaby, who didn't have the cleanest passage through the field for sixth.

"I'd never been on her back prior to today … I'd love to stick with her," Currie quipped.

"It was a good effort because she was a long way back but she rounded them up quick - that was impressive.

"She was shuffled a bit further than I would have liked but I didn't want to press and be in an awkward spot.

"I wanted to be smooth wherever she was and I thought it'd be better to come out into the clear with a bit of room.

"When I rounded the bend and come to the outside, she could feel Brooklyn Hustle to her outside and it really made her quicken."

Lyre and Luke Currie, picture Quentinjlang.com

The win provided Currie with his seventh Group 1 victory, his sixth since guiding Suavito to victory in the 2016 C.F. Orr Stakes.

As for Freedman, Lyre's Blue Diamond victory ensured he joined brother Lee as training the winner of the race.

Anthony for years worked as a foreman for Lee as his older sibling officially prepared Knowledge (1997), Danelagh (1998) and Alinghi (2004) to win the race.

These days Anthony's son, Sam, works as foreman for the stable.

Shiekh Mohammed has raced horses with the Freedman family for approximately 15 to 20 years, with Lyre becoming their first Group 1 winner.

Other notable horses that raced for the Freedman family, under the Godolphin or Darley banner, were Group winners Romneya, Willander, Viennese and Colour.

"This is a great result for our family," Anthony Freedman said.

"Our association with Godolphin has gone back a long time now, they've been very good to our family and myself personally in the last 12 months.

"I've only got five for them (Godolphin) and the others haven't run yet, we'll sort through them soon, so I'm going okay," Freedman offered in trademark dry fashion.

Lyre is by Lonhro out of Street Cry mare Erato who is a half-sister to Godolphin's G1 Stradbroke Handicap winner Impending.

THE BEATEN BRIGADE

Damien Oliver was pleased with the runner-up performance of $41 shot Lankan Star: "She ran really well. She had a good run. The third horse sort of wandered on her a bit in the straight but she had her chance and the winner was a bit too strong."

Ben Melham said the early leader and eventual seventh-placed galloper I Am Immortal has a good future: "A very good colt. He just struggled to see the 1200 out but a break, and next preparation he'll be fine."

Hugh Bowman said Shotmaker might have finished 11th but: "I had no luck from the draw, which was always a possibility. He wasn't in the finish but it was a good run."

Craig Williams thought he was a winning chance aboard Athiri turning for home: "From an awesome draw, we ended up getting a lovely run. She raced really well and presented at the top of the straight and just lengthened instead of having that explosive foot."

Stephen Baster said of Vinicunca: "I thought she ran OK but I thought she pulled up a little bit jarry."

Lane said the $4.80 favourite Loving Gaby was luckless as she tried to make her way through the field late: "She ran super. Found a lot of trouble and she wasn't entitled to hit the line like she did."

Beau Mertens said Brooklyn Hustle had what it takes to win a good race: "She ran really well today. She was a big slow out which put us two pairs further back than we wanted but she's still learning and putting it all together."

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