Libran will head towards the 2016 Chairman’s Handicap and Sydney Cup after he recorded a comfortable victory in the 2016 Manion Cup at Rosehill Gardens this afternoon.
Libran went into the Manion Cup as a dominant favourite following his victory in the Randwick City Stakes and jockey Brenton Avdulla elected to settle the imported stayer in the middle of the field, while Gallante took up the running in the early stages of the race.
Auvray was the first horse to make his move and he faded quickly, but Libran was able to find the line strongly and he ran away from his rivals in the final stages of the race to score a strong win.
Avdulla was able to settle Libran more effectively in the early stages of the Manion Cup and he is hopeful that the Lawman gelding can deliver him a maiden victory in the 2016 Sydney Cup.
“This has been the plan all along, to take him slowly,” Avdulla said.
“The main race that Chris wants to win is the 2600 on the first day of The Championships.
“Today he had a bit more dour in him and Chris is obviously starting to bring the work right up to him.
“He is a top class trainer and there is just a sense of timing about him.
“He is on the limit in the cup and he was pretty good today.
“We have just tried to get him to relax all prep and he still fought me a little bit then, but I had to make use of him just to hold my spot.”
Trainer Chris Waller has bought Libran along very slowly since he arrived in Australia last year and he said that he is happy that the imported galloper now has a couple of wins to his name.
Waller believes that Libran is on the right track for the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m), but he confirmed that the new favourite for the $2 million event will have his next race start in the Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) on the opening day of The Championships at Royal Randwick.
“A European stayer like him needs a little bit of confidence and that is what he has now,” Waller said.
“He has two good wins and he is heading in the right direction, which is what you want from a horse going towards the Sydney Cup.
“He is still a little bit keen in his races and I am keen to run him again before the Sydney Cup in the Chairman’s.
“That will just give him a little bit more fitness and help him settle a little bit better.’
Café Society and Gallante toughed it out to the line to finish in the placings, while Auvray was the first horse beaten and finished at the tail of the field.