Libertini coasts to victory in the Silver Shadow Stakes (Lisa Grimm)
Sensational filly, Libertini, may have shown that every cloud has a silver lining, but based on pure ability, that lining may soon turn to gold.
A homebred for co-owner, Gerry Harvey, the talented galloper put on an excellent first-up display to claim the Group Two Silver Shadow Stakes on Saturday, confidently smashing the 1200m Randwick class record and setting herself up as the benchmark 3YO filly for the spring.
Living up to the hype, the Anthony Cummings-trained youngster stopped the clock in 1:07.93, less than half a second outside of 5-time Group One winning sprinter Santa Ana Lane’s course record time of 1:07.45.
Becoming I Am Invincible’s first stakes winner for the new season, she was boldly ridden by Tommy Berry to dash clear at the 200m mark, winning effortlessly by two and a quarter-lengths eased down.
Gerry Harvey’s Racing and Bloodstock Manager, Luke McDonald was thrilled to see the filly reap the rewards and with a big team under his wing, he is looking forward to a massive spring.
“We have about 150-200 horses in work currently, and then there are 80 who have just turned 2YOs that are about to enter the stables,” McDonald points out. “It’s all systems go.”
Although other attractive options are on the cards for Libertini, at this stage the filly will look to compete in the remaining legs of the Princess Series; the Group Two Furious Stakes, the Group Two Tea Rose Stakes and then the Grand Final, the Group One Flight Stakes over 1600m.
Usually reserved, Anthony Cummings could hardly contain his delight regarding the improvement Libertini has made.
“Every time she runs, she opens a new door,” Cummings enthused. “That’s what was expected, and that’s what she provided. She is that good, and Saturday was another step in proving that. I didn’t expect the race to be run as quickly as it turned out to be, but she’s that adaptable, it didn’t matter.”
“Tommy (Berry) had to ease her down a bit and save some for next time and we just need to keep her healthy and well. When she steps up to the mile, we’ll change the nature of her work to just let her understand what is required on race day.”
Libertini’s impressive record now reads three wins and a second from four starts, which includes black-type success in the Listed Woodlands Stakes at Scone last season.
Retained to race by industry big hitters Gerry Harvey and John Singleton, Libertini is the third named foal from Encosta De Lago mare, Aloha, a winner of Rosehill’s Group One Coolmore Classic.
Aloha’s second foal is the Street Cry entire, Hualalai, who was a 2YO Saturday winner in Sydney and now stands at Ducatoon Park in South Australia, while further down the page the family boasts two other Group One winners in Malaguerra and Seabrook.
Aloha’s other progeny include a 2YO filly by Sebring and a yearling filly by I Am Invincible. She has “a brilliant nine out of 10 colt by I Am Invincible on the ground and will be returning to ‘Vinny’ again this season”.
“Gerry always gives so much back to the industry, and this colt may even go through the sales, which is a great promotion for his Magic Millions sales company,” McDonald adds.
“He passionately supports many breeders and trainers. From the grassroots mare owner to the major stables of Anthony Cummings, Hayes, Hayes and Dabernig, Waller and Gai. He also supports stables in the bush, he helps the battlers, and his loyalty to each is unwavering.
“He sold Group One JJ Aitkens winner Prince Fawaz, and gave the buyers a bargain, but he loves to keep a few to race. He deserves everything he and Katie Page achieve. The weekend was so exciting for them and it’s terrific to be a part of it.”
McDonald, together with Baramul Stud’s manager, Paul Thompson, and Gerry Harvey all play a very active role in the entire operation and are closely involved in all the bloodstock and breeding decisions.
“Paul Thompson has been at the helm at Baramul for over 20 years, and his expert knowledge and experience means that he knows the ins and out of every horse on the farm,” McDonald explains. “He manages a large broodmare band with exceptional attention to detail and is a huge asset to the team.
“Libertini is a very special horse. She paraded in perfect order, has a great attitude, is calm and relaxes well. We will take it step by step, but it was great to hear that the jockey believes that there may be improvement to come. Now it’s on to the Furious Stakes and hopefully we can pinch that one too.
“But we are a still a way off the Flight and she will need to be on her game over the 1600m. She may be a bit too brilliant at this stage for the mile with that beautiful turn of foot she possesses.
“She is bred to get the mile through her dam, Aloha, so we will wait and see.”