The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The Everest 2020 betting markets have undergone a massive shake-up following the shock win by Anthony Cummings’ speedy mare Libertini in Saturday’s Group 2 $500,000 Premiere Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick.
Cummings’ four-year-old daughter of I Am Invincible produced a brilliant first-up performance to defeat Classique Legend in an upset Premiere Stakes 2020 result and put her hand up for one of the final two slots in the $15 million The Everest back at the track in two weeks.
Continuing her ace record at Randwick, Libertini won the Premiere Stakes having her first start since the disappointing ninth in Flemington’s Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) back in early March.
The Group 2 triumph, which saw her defeat the previous two best fancied sprinters for The Everest race on October 17, was also her first victory since the Group 2 Furious Stakes in September last year.
Flashing home late off a gun ride from jockey Regan Bayliss, Libertini ($13) extended her winning margin late to defeat Les Bridges’ last start The Shorts champ Classique Legend ($2.50) by two lengths.
“I couldn’t wait to let her off the hatches today and it was a very good win against some of the top sprinters we have here in Australia so it’s very exciting,” Bayliss said post-win.
“She loves these firmer tracks, I think she is four from four on them, and she’s a top class sprinter.
“She proved it today.”
Deprive ($26) from the Godolphin stables ran a further two lengths back for third at big odds in the Premiere Stakes, while the Chris Waller-trained Nature Strip ($2.20F) was disappointing crossing fourth as the beaten favourite.
Bayliss gave the winning mare a perfectly timed ride, allowing her to settle back off the pace set by Nature Strip who drew out to a clear lead shortly after the jump controlling the race up front.
Classique Legend meanwhile raced wide without cover before moving into a clear third around the turn.
At the 300m, Nature Strip was tackled by the grey charging up the middle, but Bayliss was quick on the scene creeping into the race aboard Libertini.
Classique Legend and Libertini battled it out over the final furlong, before the latter hit another gear in her huge return with improvement still to come.
“She hasn’t raced for a while, her fitness isn’t quite there yet,” Bayliss said.
“There’s a race I think in two weeks’ time for her and she’ll be cherry ripe for that.”
Libertini won the Premiere Stakes in 1:07.6 sitting just outside the track record of 1:07.32 set by Yes Yes Yes in last year’s The Everest.
Classique Legend is now heading the markets as the $4.80 to improve on his sixth in the event last year.
Libertini meanwhile has been slashed from $34 into $7, her spot all but secured with Chris Waller Racing and James Harron Bloodstock the last two slot-holders yet to fill their positions.
“Pretty exciting today and with a little bit of luck the phone might ring sometime soon,” winning trainer Cummings said after the race.
“Gerry (Harvey) will be impressed enough and the filly has done all the impressing for us.
“She is now a more mature article all together. Last preparation wasn’t that flash, and a few issues came out of that, but we gave her the time, and time nearly beat us again.
“Really pleased to see her back to that good form, that right form that shows us the horse that she is. Now looking forward to certainly two weeks but maybe the next two years.
“We were fairly strict about the time that she had to have before she could come back, just to be sure, the last thing anyone wanted was for her to come back and have a repeat of whatever it was last time and time is the only thing that makes all of that certain, so she got that, and she has returned in the shape that we know she is capable of.”
2020 Premiere Stakes Results
|Ms Rachel King
|Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou
|Peter & Paul Snowden
|LORD VON COSTA
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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