It is shaping-up as a huge year for Benjamin...
Gai Waterhouse’s smart sprinter – miler Liberty’s Choice will run second-up in Saturday’s 2015 Missile Stakes at Royal Randwick looking to improve on his resuming run last month.
The five-year-old son of Redoute’s Choice is one of the six original entries for the $175,000 Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m), the weight-for-age sprint having since attracted a number of late entries including Tony Gollan’s Group 1 winner Temple Of Boom.
It has been a long time between drinks for Liberty’s Choice whose latest turf triumph was a two length effort at Canterbury back in September of 2013.
With nearly two years between victories, the stable is keen to see the multiple Group 2 runner-up and Group 1 performer break the drought in Sydney this weekend.
First-up on July 18 Liberty’s Choice finished a brave fourth behind the Chris Waller-trained import Rugged Cross when beaten under a length in the Listed Winter Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill.
This weekend he runs in Sydney’s other major track and all is going well with the galloper according to Tulloch Lodge representative Mark Newnham.
Newnham said the team were banking on the horse’s solid second-up record (4-1-2-0) and the small Missile Stakes field due to the recent wet weather to aid his cause in the opening Group race of the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival.
“A lot of horses are a little bit behind in their preparations with the amount of wet weather we’ve had,” Newnham told AAP.
“Gai has put him in the race thinking it wouldn’t attract a big field and that looks like being the case.
“The horse is fit and well.”
First-up in the Winter Stakes Liberty’s Choice was ridden by Tommy Berry who will be replaced on Saturday by Nash Rawiller.
Rawiller last rode the horse back in March of last year when finishing a well-beaten ninth of 10 runners behind Traitor in the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m).
The Winter Stakes was run on a Heavy (9) Rosehill track and Newnham added that a firmer course this weekend would also work in Liberty’s Choice’s favour, his first-up effort solid considering the unsuitable conditions.
“It was after a period where we had a lot of wet weather for three of four weeks and it was very hard to win with horses who were first-up,” he said.
Waterhouse also prepared last year’s Missile Stakes winner Sweet Idea who went on to run second to the now-retired Dissident in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m), the $400,000 Caulfield classic kicking off elite level racing in Melbourne this season on August 29.
Along with Temple Of Boom, who is also nominated for the Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap at Flemington on Saturday, the other late Missile Stakes entries for the Sydney feature are Boss Lane, Lord Leofric, Shiraz and Zaratone.
Fields for all the weekend’s races are due out on Wednesday so stay tuned.
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