Wayward colt Liberation will have a fitness edge over stable mate Valentia when the two Gai Waterhouse trained colts clash in the Group 3 $125,000 Synergy FX Up and Coming Stakes (1300m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Liberation resumed from a spell for an impressive two and a quarter lengths win over 1200m at Rosehill on July 19 at the end of his two year old season then was relegated to second behind Press Report after running out sharply in the straight against the three year olds over 1300m at Rosehill on August 2.
Jockey Tim Clark is back aboard Liberation after winning on the Fastnet Rock colt two starts back while Tommy Berry who rode him last start will be aboard Valentia who is resuming from a winter break on Saturday.
And even though Berry won’t be riding Liberation, he still has a high opinion of the colt, and with his recent racing expects him to have a fitness edge over his stablemate, although he queries him on a wet track.
“He has worked well at home, and if he gets through it on Saturday he’s fit and has that fitness edge on some of the others,’’ Berry told The Daily Telegraph.
“My only worry with him would be the wet track.’’
“I rode him at Warwick Farm on a wet track (at his first start). He didn’t handle it, but he wasn’t going as well back then as he is now.”
Liberation has led at his two runs this campaign and Clark will have no trouble adopting similar tactics from barrier three in the eleven horse field.
Valentia is having his first run since finishing twelfth to Mossfun in the Group 1 $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on April 5 and Berry will be looking to slot in just behind the leading bunch after drawing one from the outside at barrier ten.
Valentia has barrier trialled twice at Randwick for is return with a second over 1050m on July 18 and a win over 840m on August 1 and showed his class during the Sydney Autumn Carnival with a win in the Group 2 $175,000 Hyland Race Colours Skyline Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on March 15.
The Paul Messara trained Scissor Kick (barrier 5) is lining up for a hat trick in the Up And Coming Stakes after winning over 1250m in a Canterbury midweek two year old on July 23 then handled the class rise with ease with a three quarters of a length win over Better Land in the Listed $100,000 The Rosebud (1200m) at Randwick on August 9.
Messara will also saddle up Panzer Division (2) who is a winner at his only start in a Kembla Grange Maiden on July 19.
The Peter Moody trained Better Land (7) indicated that the extra distance on Saturday would be to his liking after hitting the line hard when second to Scissor Kick at Randwick.
Godolphin trainer John O’Shea got mixed results at the barrier draw with Kumaon, with James McDonald to ride, drawing the inside gate, while Meursault with Kerrin McEvoy on came up with gate nine.
Showers are forecast for Sydney for the remainder of the week and the Randwick track is currently rated a heavy 8 on Wednesday morning.