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Libertini's Shadow Looms Large Over The Fillies

By Ray Hickson

There’s no doubt in trainer Anthony Cummings’ mind that by the end of the spring boom three-year-old Libertini will hold the mantle of the best filly he’s started a carnival with.

Trainer Anthony Cummings (Pic: Bradley Photos)

That’s a high bar to set a horse with only three starts under her belt but such is the reputation Libertini has earned in a short time.

So expectation is high ahead of the Group 2 $200,000 Darley Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m) on Saturday and Cummings is sending her to Randwick anticipating a win.

“She certainly rates up there, right now as much on potential but if that potential is delivered then she could be the best,’’ Cummings said.

“She is where she needs to be, she’s ready to go to the races.’’

It’s not to be forgotten that Cummings also has one of the nation’s best three-year-old colts in the stable – Group 1 winner Prince Fawaz – whose destiny is to join the long list of stallions the trainer has produced over the years.

Libertini and Prince Fawaz stepped out together between races last Saturday for an exhibition gallop and Cummings said it was exactly what the filly needed.

“That little bit of nervousness she’s had would have left her after that experience,’’ he said.

“That was the point of it. Whether she was going to gallop or not after her first trial I’d already made the decision to bring her to the races.

“When I watched her second trial she was still that bit fizzy and after that it added more weight in deciding to give her that gallop.

“Prince Fawaz certainly needed one and it gets him up and running heading towards the Golden Rose.’’

Unless something dramatic happens, Libertini will be the shortest priced favourite of the day at Randwick, she was $1.85 on Wednesday, as the Darley Princess Series gets under way.

The series continues with the Furious Stakes (1200m) on September 7, the Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) on September 21 and culminates in the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) on October 5.

Cummings plans to contest all four races and said if she has another run it may be off a freshen up at 1200m in Melbourne.

“The Princess series takes you through to the Flight over a mile and when they are as brilliant as her there’s always that question mark,’’ Cummings said.

“The only way to answer it is to run it.’’

Libertini wins a trial at Randwick on August 12

Cummings admits he’s throwing Baller in the deep end of the pool first-up in the Group 3 $160,000 Mostyn Copper Show County Quality (1200m) but has plenty of faith in the four-year-old.

Baller, $10 with TAB, is only a 76 rated horse so despite tackling stakes races at his last three runs in the autumn he’s eligible for easier races and Cummings is sacrificing a potential benchmark win to back his judgment.

“He’s come back a much more professional sprinter right now and certainly, the way he has been trialling, at 1200m first-up he will be hard to beat,’’ he said.

“You can’t protect them, at the end of the day if you think they are that good and the races are there it’s a wasted opportunity to go back to a benchmark race.

“I did it with Your Song a few years ago. You have to understand what you’ve got and what the opportunities are and maximise the return.’’

All the fields, form and replays for Saturday's Winx Stakes meeting at Royal Randwick

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