Cummings keeps Everest door ajar for Libertini
OWNER Gerry Harvey shut down talk of a start in the $14 million The Everest for his brilliant filly Libertini after she scrambled home at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
But trainer Anthony Cummings hasn't given up on setting Libertini for the world's richest turf race despite her narrow win in the Group 2 $200,000 Furious Stakes (1200m).
Libertini looked set for another easy win but she made hard work of edging past early Villami, scoring by only a short neck.
"I would say she is 100-1 to go to The Everest on that run,'' Harvey said.
Cummings was quick to respond: "I've trained 100-1 winners!"
Harvey said that Cummings would need to be very persuasive to convince him to run Libertini in The Everest against the seasoned older sprinters rather than stick to the three-year-old fillies' Princess Series.
"I thought she would win by three or four lengths and she didn't, so I'm a bit disappointed,'' Harvey said.
"We won, that is the most important thing. I still think we have the best three-year-old filly in Australia but I don't know about the Everest.
"We'll assess after the race in two weeks (Tea Rose Stakes) but I've got Baller for the Everest and he was more convincing."
Cummings again was straight on to the front foot. "But Libertini has gone a second faster than Baller."
Harvey: "Oh, I didn't realise that!"
Libertini was sent out at $1.18 favourite after a series of big bets on the filly including a $72,000 wager at $1.20 with TAB Fixed Odds.
Those punters who took the short odds on Libertini would have been feeling very confident as the boom filly ambled up to Villami ($16) near the 250m only for the leader to fight back hard.
Libertini eventually edged past to beat Villami by a short neck with just over a length to Let It Pour ($21), who ran her fourth successive stakes placing in as many starts.
Cummings said there was still plenty of merit in Libertini's win.
"I think the way the races have played out today it favoured horses on speed,'' Cummings said.
"Watching the race I thought she was maybe a length too far off them.
"We'll go to that race (Tea Rose Stakes, Rosehill, September 21) to give us a guide."
Tommy Berry, rider of Libertini, said the filly came off the bridle when she was struck by the very strong headwinds on the home turn.
"I don't think she appreciated that wind then she did get a bump halfway down the straight,'' Berry said. "But she's run very good time again. She is probably going to be a better horse with a few weeks between runs.
"She's done everything we've asked her to do and won again well."
Libertini has won the first two legs of the Princess Series, the Silver Shadow Stakes and Furious Stakes. The final two legs are the Tea Rose (1400m) and the Flight Stakes (1600m).
The only fillies to clean sweep the coveted series are Angst (1993) and Samantha Miss (2008).
Cummings said the Tea Rose Stakes was shaping as the race that would determine Libertini's spring campaign, with the filly being asked to race over further than 1200m for the first time in her career.
Rawiller back and having a ball
Trainer Anthony Cummings may back up Baller in the Theo Marks Stakes as Nash Rawiller rode his third winner in the opening four races at Royal Randwick.
Baller showed his class by dominating rivals in the Sydney Markets Handicap (1200m).
It brought up Rawiller's early treble, complementing wins on Yao Dash and Miss Invincible.
Baller had failed first-up in the Show County Quality but yesterday a fitter and more focused sprinter returned to winning form.
"He jumped well then relaxed nicely in the run,'' Rawiller said.
HAVING A BALLER - @Acummingsracing and @nashhot were more than happy with Baller's win in Race 4 @royalrandwick, and @Chantellebuckle was there to congratulate Nash on his treble! 🎉🎉🎉 pic.twitter.com/ah4And7j8O— Sky Racing (@SkyRacingAU) September 7, 2019
"I think the drop in class helped and it was a nice confidence-boosting win. He is a horse I have a good opinion of and he should go on with it now.''
Baller ($2.50 favourite), bred and part-owned by Gerry Harvey, asserted his authority from the top of the straight, racing clear to win by two lengths from the fast-finishing Tarbert ($11) with Murillo ($9) a close third.
Cummings said if Baller pulled up well, he would consider backing him up in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Rawiller was also seen to advantage on the Bjorn Baker-trained Miss Invincible, who led throughout in the Might And Power for CPA Sprint (1100m).
Miss Invincible ($4.20) scored by a length, holding off the late charge of stablemate Ballistica ($5.50) with Jay Jay D'Ar ($8) a nose away third.
Baker said Miss Invincible and Ballistica were in career-best form and he was hopeful of getting black type this spring.
"They have never been going better,'' Baker said. "I'm hoping to get them to stakes level but I'll have to find the right races.
"I don't think Miss Invincible is all that well suited over 1400m so I doubt I will aim her at the Golden Pendant but I will see how they both pull up first then work out their race programs.''
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