English import Libran will head to the Sydney Cup as one of the favourites after scoring a courageous win in the Group 2 $300,000 Schweppes Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) at Randwick today.
Libran ($2.25 favourite) had to lump 58kg in a slowly run race but was able to peg back the leaders to score a last stride half neck win over Alegria ($16) with the pacemaker Cafe Society ($10) holding on for third, a half a head away.
Hong Kong based jockey Zac Purton tried to steel the race when he set a dawdling pace up front on the Gai Waterhouse trained Cafe Society but was able to hold off the strong finishing effort of the first two placegetters.
Winning jockey Brenton Avdulla has Libran travelling sweetly under his big weight in fourth position and timed his run to perfection to get the five year old home.
Libran is exempt from the ballot and any penalty for the Group 1 $2m Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick next Saturday for winning the Chairman’s Handicap today and will only carry 52kg in the two mile staying feature.
Winning trainer Chris Waller has had a trouble free preparation with Libran and the tough stayer will join his other Sydney Cup contenders Who Shot Thebarman and Grand Marshal next week.
“Everything has gone well with him this preparation,” Waller said.
“He took six months to acclimatize after coming out from England which is pretty standard and his form going into today was impeccable.””
“He has won his two lead up races and going towards next Saturday’s Sydney Cup he has got three wins here now.”
“He is doing it the right way. He didn’t win by a big margin, he had a big weight and he got the job done.”
Waller said the Avdulla has been riding Libran welll and he will be aboard again in the Sydney Cup.
Chairman’s Handicap Results
|1||1||LIBRAN (IRE)||Chris Waller||Brenton Avdulla||–||4||58kg||$2.25F|
|2||5||ALEGRIA||John O’Shea||Sam Clipperton||0.2L||2||54kg||$16|
|3||4||CAFE SOCIETY (FR)||Gai Waterhouse||Zac Purton||0.3L||6||54kg||$10|
|4||2||AUVRAY (FR)||John P Thompson||Tommy Berry||6.4L||7||57.5kg||$11|
|5||3||DESTINY’S KISS||Joseph Pride||Jason Collett||6.9L||1||57kg||$8|
|6||8||DEE I CEE (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Tim Clark||10.7L||8||54kg||$5|
|7||9||HIGH OPINION||Chris Heywood||Nick Heywood (a)||11.2L||9||54kg||$26|
|8||7||SUPERCOACH||Bjorn Baker||Brett Prebble||12.4L||3||54kg||$15|
|9||6||WALES||Richard Laming||Craig Newitt||30.1L||5||54kg||$61|