Neasham Builds Libertad’s Bravado For Arrowfield Battle

There’s nothing like taking confidence into a big race and trainer Annabel Neasham feels Libertad has been in need of some ahead of the Group 2 $1 million Arrowfield Sprint (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday.

Trainer Annabel Neasham (Pic: Grant Guy)

So when Libertad stuck his head in front of stablemate Jimi Hendrix a long way out in a gallop at Breakfast With The Stars on Tuesday was asked to continue to the line it was a deliberate move from Neasham to build his bravado.

Since the colt kicked off his career with three straight wins things haven’t gone to plan, and his three runs this autumn have been a mix of disappointment, hope, and misfortune.

“We wanted to give him a nice confidence giving gallop so he’s going into it confidently,’’ Neasham said.

“We haven’t managed to string two good runs together with him yet but he’s got the ability there.”

It appeared Libertad was on track to be a carnival player with an eye-catching second in the Group 3 Maurice McCarten (1100m) a month ago but was on the wrong end of interference when beating a couple home in the Star Kingdom.

Neasham said you have to forgive Libertad for last start and on his best form there’s no doubt he’s good enough.

“You only have to go and look at the stewards vision to see what happened there,’’ Neasham said.

“He was pretty unlucky the other day and copped a fair bit of interference. He twice came into contact with the rail and it was all over then.

“He’s got the ability to win an Arrowfield and he quite likes a bit of juice in the track.”

Libertad was $26 with TAB on Wednesday while Neasham said stablemate Learning To Fly, $9, may be saved for a Group 1 target in Adelaide later this month.

Learning To Fly worked alongside two-year-old Castanya on Tuesday and Neasham will consider the likely track conditions and the barrier draw, she’s drawn 14, before deciding whether she takes her place having elected not to run last Saturday in the PJ Bell.

She hasn’t raced since running fourth in the Surround Stakes (1400m) five weeks ago.

“She didn’t like (the ground) in the Surround, it was a bit loose, but as it transpired the track actually raced better than I thought,’’ she said.

“She’s always been a good workhorse, I don’t think she’s ever worked badly.

“The main aim is the Sangster. She’s already a Group 2 winner so a Group 1 is what we want.”

Neasham won the Group 2 $1 million Percy Sykes Stakes (1200m) last year with Kristilli and she says on Castanya’s work with her stablemate she’s buoyed heading into the fillies feature.

She said the filly will improve on her last start fourth in the Magic Night behind Drifting as a setback forced her to miss the Reisling and a serious shot at a Golden Slipper start.

“It was only a foot abscess but a pretty bad one and she missed a bit of work so it wasn’t an ideal lead up into that race,’’ she said.

“She didn’t enjoy the track that day and was a bit slow away but closed quite well late. Hopefully she can jump a bit better and put herself in the race.

“I’ve got a big opinion of her, I think she’s improved from what we’ve seen of her so far.”

– Racing NSW

Share this article