By Tony Megahey
Widely-travelled former Western Districts premiership trainer Gayna Williams is in a winning vein going into Tuesday’s Tamworth TAB meeting where she has an intriguing talent resuming from a long spell.
Williams, with 31 wins this season, landed a Wellington double last week with stable star Galaxy Warrior and Press Reviews, and placed at Royal Randwick with Go the Gantry, and has Taking Liberties making a comeback after a nine-month absence.
Five-year-old mare Taking Liberties set a class record winning an 1100m Dubbo Class 2 way back on September 17 of last year. Her sizzling 1.01.94 compared favourably with the track record of 1.01.47 set by Somebody, one of the best-performed sprinters on Country tracks.
The Statue of Liberty (USA) bred mare previously had shown little inkling of the spectacular performance with just a solitary maiden win from her previous 19 starts. But suddenly after being ‘airborne’ for Gayna with a near track record, it all went horribly wrong.
“She had a really bad track accident - threw the rider, galloped back to the stables, slipped on the concrete and suffered a serious leg injury among other things,” Gayna explained from her Mudgee stables. “So it’s taken this long to get her somewhere near right.
"She has any amount of ability as that class record shows, but aside from the injury she’s been hard to train. She’s so head strong and over-races. We’ve been trying to get her to relax more and settle.
“We haven’t got that right yet but she’s showing some good signs and she’s always had the ability. But we’re happy with her and the trial going into Tuesday’s race. We’re trying to stretch her out over more ground but that won’t happen unless we can get her to settle and not race so fiercely.”
Significantly though, Taking Liberties has been runner-up twice when resuming from a spell as she contests a Goodwin Kenny Class 2 (1000m). She’s drawn ideally in barrier two carrying 57kg for Grant Buckley in a capacity field. And the strongest push for the mare is that Buckley rode her when she ran that class record and also in the May trial.
Meanwhile, Gayna and her husband Frank, a career horseman and stud manager, previously trained at Bathurst, Grafton and Gulgong before relocating their stables to Mudgee several seasons ago.
Gayna’s strike rate from Bathurst was remarkable including a Summer Cup, twice winning the prestige Soldier’s Saddle sprint along with city success. And she hasn’t had a stronger training challenge than the talented Taking Liberties.