Libertini up for Everest challenge
Anthony Cummings admits there is compelling evidence to set Libertini for the $14 million The TAB Everest.
Libertini broke the clock in her stunning comeback win last Saturday in the Silver Shadow Stakes over The Everest's Randwick 1200m course, giving Cummings confidence the filly has the natural brilliance to be competitive in the world's richest turf race.
Cummings also pointed out that Libertini was a big, powerful, imposing three-year-old filly who could cope with the physical demands of taking on older, more seasoned sprinters in The Everest.
But he needs to convince his high-profile owners, Gerry Harvey and John Singleton, and an Everest slot holder to get the filly into the field for the race at Royal Randwick on October 19.
"I had a brief chat with Gerry (on Saturday) and he wants some more information, so we will put something together,'' Cummings told Big Sports Breakfast Weekend.
"I think we will have a chat to all the potential slot holders during the week and see if anyone has any appetite for it.
"Gerry and John need to be up for that (Everest start) - and we are close to that but haven't quite got there yet - then the potential for a slot has to be considered.''
There are eight confirmed starters in The Everest and the final four slots are held by Godolphin, Coolmore, James Harron and Melbourne Racing Club.
Libertini was so good in the Silver Shadow Stakes that TAB Fixed Odds price assessors slashed the filly's odds for The Everest from $26 into $11.
Santa Ana Lane remains the $5 favourite.
Redzel has won the only two Everests and a three-year-old is yet to finish in the placings.
The only three-year-old fillies to contest The Everest were in the inaugural race in 2017, when Tulip finished fifth, Houtzen seventh and She Will Reign 11th.
But after watching Libertini being eased down to score a dominant Silver Shadow Stakes win in which she ran the Randwick 1200m in a flying 1m 7.93s, including breaking 33s for her closing 600m sectional, Cummings is growing in confidence about his filly's Everest chances.
"I feel physically she loses nothing in comparison to those other horses, she has the body of a four-year-old now,'' Cummings said.
"She was very strong through the line and to run the time, it was very impressive.
"There was a lot of pressure in the first half of the race (Silver Shadow) yet she soaked that up and ran away from them. In The Everest, she will carry less weight (53kg), too.
"In terms of how brilliant she is, maybe there is a risk in some people's minds about her getting out to a mile (1600m) but there is no issue with her over 1200m, plainly.
"When you can run close to a track record eased down first-up you probably don't have to prove much more to say you are at that level. She really is something special.''
EVEREST RIVALS HEADLINE RANDWICK TRIALS
The Everest hopefuls Sunlight, Classique Legend and Osborne Bulls will clash in a 1000m heat at another star-studded barrier trial session at Royal Randwick on Tuesday.
Sunlight and Classique Legend have already been selected by slot holders for The Everest, while Osborne Bulls is vying for the Godolphin slot.
Prince Fawaz, Cosmic Force, Grey Lion, Hush Writer, Fierce Impact and Kolding are other potential spring carnival contenders competing at the Randwick trials session.
SAMA CHASES RARE DOUBLE
Samadoubt will be given the opportunity to achieve a rare big-race double achieved only by four champions of the turf after his upset Winx Stakes win at Randwick last Saturday.
A brilliant front-running ride by Tim Clark enabled Samadoubt to hold off Happy Clapper, Invincible Gem and Avilius to win the Winx Stakes, the first Group 1 race of the new season.
Trainer Bjorn Baker, who engineered Samadoubt's upset win, said he would aim the chestnut at the Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on October 5.
The last horse to win the Winx (formerly Warwick) Stakes-Epsom double was Filante in 1996. Super Impose managed the feat twice in 1990-91, while Sky High (1961) and Chatham (1933) also won both races.
Clark is riding in outstanding form and is an early leader in the 2019-20 Sydney jockeys' premiership with nine wins. Comeback jockey Nash Rawiller has also begun the new season in great touch and is joint premiership leader after his double on Sweet Deal and Valentina Rossa.
Rawiller's ride on Sweet Deal was copybook and stewards should show this at apprentice school as an example of tactical nous and timing.
Trainer John Thompson said Sweet Deal, winner of her past two starts in Sydney Saturday grade, had earned a start in the Listed Mona Lisa Stakes next week.
DEBATE RAGES OVER STEWARDS' CALL
The stewards' controversial decision to uphold the protest and award True Detective the Up And Coming Stakes from first-over-the-line Superium caused plenty of debate.
Opinions were divided among punters and in the Randwick press room about the protest.
Superium, ridden by Glen Boss, was found to have drifted out and caused interference to True Detective inside the final 100m of the race.
Racing NSW chief steward Marc Van Gestel said that it was the view of the stewards' panel that True Detective was going to win the race before the interference occurred and upheld the protest.
But there were plenty willing to argue that Superium was fighting back and had True Detective's measure anyway.
Boss described the stewards' decision as a joke and was later fined $1000 for his remark.
I don't condone what Boss said but I hope he never loses his passion for the sport.
MUSTAJEER SET FOR CUPS
Australian Bloodstock's Jamie Lovett and Luke Murrell have an uncanny ability to identify equine talent and they struck again with their recent acquisition Mustajeer, an impressive winner of the Ebor Handicap in York yesterday.
Mustajeer, who won Europe's richest staying handicap comfortably, will be transferred to the stables of champion Newcastle trainer Kris Lees and be set for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.
It was a good weekend for Lovett and Murrell.
Their Lees-trained stayer Our Candidate scored another very easy win at Royal Randwick.
SETBACK DELAYS TIME
Talented colt Time To Reign won't be among the entries for the Group 3 $160,000 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Trainer Gary Portelli revealed Time To Reign had an elevated temperature for a number of days earlier this month and he is giving the Silver Slipper winner plenty of time to get over the issue.
The San Domenico still promises to be an outstanding race with Bivouac, Exceedance, Yes Yes Yes and Catch Me likely starters.
RON DUFFICY'S SNAPSHOT
RUN OF THE DAY
Libertini exceeded all expectations when she won with a leg in the air in her much-anticipated return. She has some lovely targets to look forward to against her own age and sex but connections may have to rethink if the slot holders for the TAB Everest come knocking at the door.
FORGET THEY RAN
There were a few legitimate excuses in the TAB Highway on Saturday. Lady Demi and Rioli never got balanced or clear running at any stage and arguably should have fought out the finish.
THE BLACK BOOK
I don't know what Chris Waller has in mind for Kings Will Dream but I loved his return from injury. He was the least crunched down of all runners from the yard and there is a good race for him this preparation.
RIDE OF THE DAY
Tommy Berry was brilliant and Tim Clark calculated but Nash Rawiller's winning double wouldn't have happened without him. What a horseman he is to lift his two winners over the line. He is riding with hunger and desire and it's just a shame that he can't ride a few kilos lighter.