Undefeated three year old Lucky Liberty will step up to Stakes company for the first time when he lines up in the Group 3 $150,000 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Lucky Liberty has only been to the races on three occasions for three wins but has been marked as one of the top chances in the Group 1 $500,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 7.
The Henry Dwyer trained gelding kicked off his racing career with a win over 1200m in a Mornington Maiden on December 28 and followed that up with a win over 1200m in a Sale BenchMark 64 on January 15.
Dwyer then bought the Statue Of Liberty gelding to the city and with Michelle Payne in the saddle again and after a tough run was able to score a narrow but impressive victory in the $80,000 Flemington Rose Garden BenchMark 78 Handicap (1420m) at Flemington on January 31.
Following his win at Flemington Lucky Liberty was listed as the second favourite at $9 with Ladbrokes.com.au for the Australian Guineas behind the Caulfield Guineas winner Shooting To Win who heads the market order at $7.
Dwyer is now keen to test Lucky Liberty against some quality opposition in the CS Hayes Stakes and is one of twenty-four three year olds nominated for this weekend’s race.
“I think he’s up to that class,” Dwyer told AAP.
“With the condition he’s in we’d have to go in with some confidence.”
Dwyer was happy to give Lucky Liberty three weeks in between runs after his latest start and another good performance will give the young trainer two weeks to prepare him for his major Autumn Carnival target in the Australian Guineas.
“To sustain that for another five weeks to the Guineas from his last run was going to be a pretty big ask so I just thought having that quiet week in between would help him out a bit,” Dwyer said.
“And he’ll be 100 per cent for the Guineas.”
Among the entries for the CS Hayes Stakes are the Chris Waller trained Bascule, Delectation and Kermadec while the star Western Australian three year old Disposition is set to start off his Eastern states campaign under the care of his new trainer Wez Hunter.
Delectation and Kermadec both kicked off their Autumn Carnival campaign with a second and a fourth in the Group 3 $150,000 Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on February 7 and both are also nominated for the Group 2 $200,000 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on Saturday.