Gai Waterhouse has both Valentia and Liberation in the 2014 Up And Coming Stakes field and she is confident that both colts will perform well in the Group 3 event at Royal Randwick tomorrow.
Valentia will be returning to the races for the first time since he finished 12th in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) and has impressed onlookers with two barrier trial performances at Royal Randwick on July 18 and August 1.
Waterhouse was happy with the way that Valentia performed as a two-year-old, but told Racing Ahead this morning that she has always been of the belief that the Fastnet Rock colt would be a better horse as a three-year-old.
“I’ve always had a lot of time for this colt and I think that he is a very special colt,” Waterhouse said.
“I loved him when Coolmore brought him as a yearling and I thought that he showed enormous courage as a two-year-old in his wins.
“He was probably not seasoned or mature for the Golden Slipper, but he is a class act and a lovely, lovely horse.”
Liberation recorded an impressive victory in the Inglis $5 Million Race Series Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on July 19 and was the first horse across the line in the Early Quaddie Plate (1300m) at the same venue on August 2, but lost the race on protest to Press Report after laying in, in the final stages of the race.
Waterhouse blamed Tommy Berry for the erratic performance of Liberation and she is confident that the three-year-old can return to his best form and take up the running in the Up And Coming Stakes this weekend.
“He should never have lost that race; I told Tommy if he stopped looking at himself in the mirror we would have won the race,” Waterhouse said.
“I said to Tom ‘why did you look at the screen because when you tapped the horse on the shoulder he ran out a little bit and when you tapped him again he ran out a lot, but you were looking at the screen’.
“He said that it would never happen again.
“He is a horse that likes to get on the speed and he does that very naturally.
“Those horses shouldn’t be restrained and you should let them race the way that they like.”
Liberation and Valentia will both press on to the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 13, if they perform well in the Up And Coming Stakes.
Liberation has been backed into 2014 Up And Coming Stakes odds of $7, while Valentia is available at a quote of $9 to make a winning straight to his spring preparation.