Lucky Liberty’s 2015 Australian Guineas plans were put in doubt when he failed to impress in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) on February 21, running second last in a field of 12.
As a result, the three-year-old gelding has been left in 25th place in the ballot order for the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m), which has a field limit of 16 plus four emergencies. However connections have pressed on with plans to run Lucky Liberty in this Saturday’s feature race at Flemington, he just needs to make the field.
Hoop Michelle Payne partnered the gelding in a gallop on Saturday morning and will get another work out this morning (Tuesday). She said Lucky Liberty felt fantastic and believes the gelding can make his presence felt in the $500,000 Australian Guineas if given the chance.
“He’s going to work on Tuesday morning with the raceday saddle on, just as a precaution, and I’m really looking forward to next week,” Payne told Sky Racing.
“Hopefully he gets in the field and I think he’ll run really well.
“He’s got that X-factor that you need to win those races and if everything worked out and he got a lovely run, I really think he’d be right in the finish.”
Lucky Liberty won his first three starts, including a Benchmark 64 over 1200m and Benchmark 78 over 1420m, before stepping up to black-type level of racing for the first time in the CS Hayes Stakes.
The gelding’s saddle slipped early in the race, which left him trailing the field by about 10 lengths before he started to buck. He ultimately finished eight lengths off winner Wandjina, who leads the ballot for the 2015 Australian Guineas.
“The saddle slipped back a fair way and he obviously just wasn’t happy about it,” Payne said.
“He never really got serious about it, he just let me know he was unhappy.”
Despite needing five horses in the Australian Guineas order of entry above him to non-accept for the race to even make the field as an emergency runner, Lucky Liberty is a $13 hopeful in the futures betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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The final field for the 2015 Australian Guineas will be released Monday morning, at which time connections will know if Lucky Liberty has made the field or not. Check back at Races.com.au for all the latest news and updates.