Leave it to Lib­er­at­ing

Irish Examiner - Racing - - RACING - Jessica Har­ring­ton

It was great that the Grand National turned out to be such a good race and the best thing about it was that all the horses came home safely, as did the jock­eys. There were no neg­a­tive vibes for any­one to feed off of and that was very im­por­tant for the race and for the sport as a whole.

It’s a dif­fer­ent race now from what it used to be but if peo­ple thought it wouldn’t throw up a big-priced win­ner any­more, they were wrong. Aurora’s En­core is a flat-bred horse that isn’t very big but he jumped for fun and looked like he could have gone around again.

Ain­tree was good for Ir­ish­trained horses too with some good win­ners and plenty of placed horses. Now Punchestown is al­most upon us and I am re­ally look­ing for­ward to that.

We have to keep our eye on the ball though and while we have no run­ners to­day, there are four to­mor­row that will hope­fully go well.

Lib­er­at­ing takes her place in the Group 3 1000 Guineas Trial at Leop­ard­stown. I was very pleased with her tune-up at Dun­dalk eight days ago when she was third. She is a bit of a stuffy filly and would have needed that. Hope­fully it will have her just right.

I think she has quite a good op­por­tu­nity here, cer­tainly of be­ing in the frame. It doesn’t look as good a race as last year, when the win­ner, Home­com­ing Queen was rated 105, just touch­ing off the 111-rated Fire Lily. Our own Re­mem­ber Alexan­der was fourth and she was rated 105.

There is no horse rated over 100 in this year’s re­newal and Lib­er­at­ing has a rat­ing of 96. What’s more, I think she will han­dle a lit­tle more cut in the ground than she could last year and that might be im­por­tant if the rain does come. She has strength­ened up a good bit. I give her a de­cent chance and she def­i­nitely rep­re­sents good each­way value in a nine-horse con­test.

I would say the same for Bend­zoldan, who was fifth in her sea­sonal de­but at the Cur­ragh last week. It was a good ef­fort and she is en­ti­tled to come on for that in a sim­i­lar event. Th­ese hand­i­caps are al­ways hard to call but she should be there or there­abouts.

Takey­our­capoff would ap­pre­ci­ate the ground as it is right now and won’t be with- out a chance un­less it goes soft.

Why But Why takes in a be­gin­ners’ chase at Tramore and is an­other that ap­pre­ci­ates good ground. He took in the all-weather at Dun­dalk in Fe­bru­ary just to keep tick­ing over while we waited for the right con­di­tions. He re­ally likes to jump and again, if the ground is right – and it was still good there yes­ter­day — should give a good ac­count of him­self.

We had some pleas­ing runs in the past week. At Lim­er­ick last Sun­day, Over­call was just blind­sided by the fast-fin­ish­ing Shan­pal­las. Again, he en­joyed the im­proved go­ing and will hope­fully win his maiden hur­dle soon. We will go some­where be­fore Punchestown maybe. I was also pleased with Di­rec­tor’s Fo­rum, who needed the run and is com­ing along nicely.

Steps To Freedom ran a big race to be only two lengths be­hind Parish Hall when third in the Al­leged Stakes at the Cur­ragh. That was a re­ally good ef­fort and if the ground is good, he will take his chance in the Cham­pion Hur­dle at Punchestown.

Chino Valdes is an­other that did very well when fol­low­ing up his de­but third over fences with a sec­ond at Gowran on Tues­day. He is rac­ing with en­thu­si­asm, which wasn’t the case all the time over hur­dle.

He re­ally loves to jump and maybe he’s en­joy­ing the chal­lenge of that. So we have a bit to look for­ward to there, par­tic­u­larly if the ground stays good.

PROMIS­ING SORT: Bend­zoldan (red hoops) fin­ished a promis­ing fifth be­hind Maude Adams at the Cur­ragh last week. She has come on for the run and has strong claims to­mor­row.

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