Libertad too good first-up in the San Domenico Stakes

Aided by a superb ride, Libertad has maintained his unbeaten record to win the San Domenico Stakes and in an ominous sign for his rivals, trainer Annabel Neasham believes the best is yet to come.

The colt flew under the radar in pre-race discussions, predominantly due to concerns over his wide gate.

But they went out the window shortly after the start when the horse jumped keenly and jockey Chad Schofield was able to slot him into a perfect position, one-out and one-back.

“It was a masterstroke by Chad to end up in that spot,” Neasham said.

“I thought we would be further back than where we were, but once he slotted into that spot, I knew it was going to take a tough one to beat him.

“The exciting thing is he is still pretty woolly in the coat.”

Saturday’s win has confirmed plans to aim Libertad at the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) next month, via The Run To The Rose (1200m) where he is set to meet the likes of juvenile triple crown winners Shinzo and Militarize.

Libertad ($8) took out the San Domenico Stakes (1100m) by three-quarters of a length over new kid on the block Moravia ($13), who ran an outstanding race at just his second start, with Butch Cassidy ($15) doing his best work late for third.

The win gave the Neasham-Schofield combination its second successive San Domenico after Sweet Ride 12 months ago and with exciting filly Learning To Fly out for the spring, Libertad is emerging as a key carnival ride for Schofield.

“I thought after today he’d really come on. He had a nice winter coat and he’s by no means at his top fitness-wise,” Schofield said.

“There’s a lot to be excited about. He’s under-rated – he is top class.”

Tyler Schiller was rapt with the effort of Moravia and expected him to continue to improve with racing.

“It was only his second start and experience is what got him beaten,” Schiller said.

James Mcdonald felt sixth placegetter Kandinsky Abstract ($5) was good late but got too far back to pose a serious threat, while Nash Rawiller said the race didn’t go to plan for Corniche ($3.90 Boombet fav), who finished fifth.

“He was a bit slow away and was pretty luckless from that point,” Rawiller said.

“He got a nasty bump there before the straight which didn’t help him.”

Stewards later reported that both Corniche and Kandinsky Abstract had pulled up mildly lame.

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