English import Libran stamped himself as a definite Sydney Cup contender with a tough win in the Listed $125,000 Girvan Waugh Randwick City Stakes (2000m) at Randwick today.
Sydney’s leading trainer Chris Waller will give Libran one more run in the Group 2 $300,000 Schweppes Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) at Randwick on April 2, the first day of ‘The Championships’ before confirming a start in the Group 1 $2m Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick seven days later.
“The writing has been on the wall that he is a promising stayer and today he got the job done,” Waller said.
“The second horse Allergic is pretty smart and he held him off late when he made a late challenge and it was good to see.”
“I’ve said to the owners that we will settle for the Chairman’s Handicap. It might be a bit obscure, it’s the week before the Sydney Cup.”
“It is all good to dream about ‘The Championships’ races, Sydney Cups, Queen Elizabeths, realism is you can miss out on them too.”
“So we will get some good prizemoney along the way. The Chairman’s is a really good race, it is the first day of ‘The Championships’ and if he won that he is a Sydney Cup chance.”
Libran was having his third run back from a spell and winning jockey Brenton Avdulla had him travelling smoothly back on the fence in fourth spot for most of the trip before easing over the heels of the leader Beyond Thankful.
Avdulla was left in front a long way from home but the $3.90 second favourite was able to hold off the late challenge of the $2.70 favourite Allergic to score a long head win.
Maurus ($7) ran on well for third, a further three lengths away.
Hugh Bowman on Beyond Thankful ($17) made sure it was a solidly run race when he set up a commanding six lengths lead in the middle stages, but the topweight with 59kg faded in the straight to be a well beaten eighth.
Avdulla has been with Libran for his three runs this campaign and will stick with the five year old who has been weighted on 50kg in Sydney Cup.