Libran will go into the 2016 Sydney Cup as one of the favourites after he recorded a tough staying victory in the 2016 Chairman’s Handicap at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
Café Society took up the running in the early stages of the Chairman’s Handicap and jockey Zac Purton assured that the race was run at a complete crawl, while Brenton Avdulla settled Libran in fourth one off the rail.
Café Society kicked clear at the top of the straight and Libran looked as though he would be outsprinted by Café Society and Alegria, but he kept making up ground and ran through the line strongly to take out the Chairman’s Handicap.
Avdulla has developed an outstanding association with Libran this preparation and he said after the race that he is thrilled to have received the opportunity to ride him in both the Chairman’s Handicap and the Sydney Cup.
“He is my new favourite horse this bloke,” Avdulla said.
“I don’t get opportunities on Championship Days usually and 12 months ago I was sitting in the jocks room for seven out of the ten races.
“I am very grateful that Chris has given me the opportunity to ride such a talented stayer.
“I’ve been with him from day dot and he progressively gets better and better.
“Today he went like a deadset two miler.
“Hopefully he pulls up alright and Chris wants to run him next week because if he does he is going to be a live hope.
“He is a little marvel and he is my little champion at the moment.”
Trainer Chris Waller has been thrilled with the improvement that Libran has made every time that he has been seen at the races this preparation and he confirmed that the imported stayer would back-up in the Sydney Cup next weekend.
Waller was quick to pay credit to the work that Avdulla has done with Libran and he labelled ‘The Gun’ one of the best young riders in Sydney.
“Everything has gone well with him this preparation,” Waller said.
“He took six months to acclimatize since coming out from England, which is pretty standard, and his form going into today was impeccable having won the two lead-up races and going towards next Saturday’s Sydney Cup.
“He has three wins there now too and he is doing it the right way.
“He didn’t win by a big margin, but he had a big weight and he got the job done.
“Brenton has done a fantastic job, hence the reason that he is still riding him and will stick with him.
Waller is set to have a very strong hand in the Sydney Cup next weekend and Libran will be joined in the race by stablemates Who Shot Thebarman and Grand Marshal.