Harvey In Two Minds Over Everest Bid For Libertini

By Ray Hickson

Libertini’s managing part-owner Gerry Harvey has left little doubt he believes the classy filly is Everest material – but perhaps not in 2019.

Libertini’s managing owner Gerry Harvey. (Pic: @baramulstud)

Harvey, speaking on Melbourne radio on Monday morning, has warned punters Libertini is no guarantee to run in the $14m TAB Everest if offered a slot but at the same time hasn’t completely ruled it out.

All the Everest talk from the Randwick meeting centred on the three-year-old filly after she stopped the clock less than half a second from Santa Ana Lane’s 1200m course record in romping away with the Group 2 Darley Silver Shadow Stakes.

It begged the question – is Libertini a serious Everest contender?

“If I put (her) in an Everest I might be one year too early but I wouldn’t be unhappy winning the Everest three years in a row,’’ Harvey said.

“Next year, and the year after and the year after.’’

Libertini rocketed onto the $11 line of betting with TAB behind Santa Ana Lane ($5) and alongside the only horse to win Australia’s richest race, Redzel, such is the hype about her.

Harvey had this to say to punters wanting to back Libertini to win the Everest – “I wouldn’t encourage anyone to do that’’.

But he qualified that with – “That doesn’t mean I won’t give it a go’’.

It should be said both Harvey and the filly’s part-owner John Singleton are known for being willing to take up a challenge.

Currently there are four unconfirmed slots in the 2019 TAB Everest – Godolphin will fill one from within with Osborne Bulls the front-runner; the Melbourne Racing Club’s Schillaci Stakes (October 12) winner earns its slot; Coolmore have options from horses they own and that leaves James Harron.

Coolmore started the only three-year-old filly to contest The Everest to date in Tulip who ran fifth in 2017.

Harvey said when he rang Anthony Cummings to give Libertini to him to train he believed he was handing the Randwick trainer ‘my best horse’.

He sold both Group 1 winner Prince Fawaz and talented sprinter Baller to Cummings and since that phone call he’s upgraded his view of Libertini.

“You can never be sure what your best horse is but I’ve always had an opinion of this horse,’’ he said.

“She’s turned out to be my best horse, there’s no doubt about that.

“When you get a horse you think maybe I’ve got a Black Caviar or Makybe Diva or something, I don’t know. I am very excited about her. That horse might be the next big thing.’’

Libertini wins the Silver Shadow Stakes at Randwick on August 24

At this stage Harvey believes Libertini will continue on the planned path through the Princess Series, the next leg of the four races is the Group 2 Furious Stakes (1200m) on September 7 at Randwick.

The bottom line for Harvey is the filly is three and has only had the four starts to date but there’s also no doubt the Everest is tempting.

“I still don’t know whether I want to think of that,’’ he said.

“I hate pushing horses hard. Anthony said ‘why don’t we run this horse three or four times and keep putting her out and try to run it until it’s a six year-old’.

“I said ‘that’s exactly what I want to do’. I’m going to take a long term view so that’s what we’ll do.’’