Eagle Farm’s Barry Lockwood is confident his triple-figure outsider in Saturday’s BTC Cup 2016 Liberation won’t be last past the post in the opening Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival elite level at Doomben Racecourse.
A field of 13 will take to the track for Doomben Race 7 at 4:06pm (AEST) for this weekend’s $500,000 Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) after the scratching of the Chris Waller-trained Counterattack (11).
Another of Waller’s two remaining chances in the weight-for-age feature Japonisme is leading the latest BTC Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $3.50 and firming after coming up trumps with gate three.
At the opposite end of the BTC Cup betting markets paying $126 is the roughie of the race Liberation, a former Gai Waterhouse-trained stallion known for his bad race manners.
Now prepared in Brisbane by Lockwood, the Fastnet Rock four-year-old earned his shot at the Group 1 clash after a strong autumn campaign in Queensland against easier company.
The BTC Cup will be the horse’s seventh run at Doomben where he boasts a strong record of two wins, two seconds and a third to date.
The third came last start on March 26 when beaten two lengths by Aldini in a 1350m handicap.
Lockwood knows the restricted class racehorse is being thrown in the deep end by accepting him for the BTC Cup bid, but believes he is in the right kind of form to test his true sprinting abilities.
“He is very well at the moment and I thought why not have a go. He has earned his way this campaign and deserves a chance,” Lockwood told AAP this week.
“Put it this way, he won’t be running last. There are a stack of other races around for him so if he fails there is nothing lost. But I have always had an opinion of him it is just a matter of getting him to run up to that form.”
Liberation’s latest win was over the BTC Cup track and distance in early March, but he hasn’t raced in Black-Type class since his failed 10th of 10 runners in the Listed Sunshine Coast Cup (1400m) on January 31 when defeated by a Heavy (10) track.
He has had only two Group starts when, as a three-year-old during 2014, he ran 10th to Rich Enuff in Caulfield’s Group 3 Guineas Prelude (1400m) and fifth to Scissor Kick in Randwick’s Group 3 Up & Coming Stakes (1300m).
Liberation crossed only a length off the winner in the Up & Coming Stakes, but causes serious interference during a wayward run in the race that led to much of his bad reputation on the track.
He is Lockwood’s first BTC Cup runner, a race famous for upset results in recent years including Famous Seamus ($20 in 2014) and Hot Snitzel ($25 in 2015) for Peter & Paul Snowden last season.
The Snowdens return this year saddling-up Dothraki ($8.50) from the inside barrier and Charlie Boy ($14) in barrier six, the stablemates to be ridden by Blake Shinn and Damian Browne respectively.
Shinn rode last year’s BTC Cup winner Hot Snitzel to victory, while Browne also attempts a second successful ride in the race after his win aboard Albert The Fat ($20 in 2010) six years ago.
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