Liberty Stride stuns at Shepparton
By Jonny Turner
Oamaru trotter Liberty Stride stunned Australian harness racing fans with a phenomenal win from a seemingly hopeless position at Shepparton on Tuesday.
The Phil Williamson trained blueblood produced a performance that had to be seen to believed when flying home to win after trailing the field by 12 lengths with just a lap to run in a 2190m sprint.
Williamson admitted the incredible effort did not come as a complete surprise.
“I am not too sure how good the opposition was, but she is a very nice horse.”
“She has got a lot of ability.”
Liberty Stride appeared to beat a very low level of opposition in a minor handicap event.
Despite that, the victory caught the attention of Australian harness racing fans, who took to social media to rave about her effort.
Liberty Stride came to Australia after producing two wins from six starts in New Zealand.
It was in the last of those runs, with Matthew Williamson in the sulky at Forbury Park, that the royally bred daughter of Muscle Hill and Jasmyn’s Gift showed she was above average, Williamson said.
“Her last run at Forbury was very good, she won by six lengths and Matty came back in and said she could have won by more.”
“She ran time, too.”
Liberty Stride did not just win at Shepparton, she absolutely bolted in.
Driver Chris Alford had the 3yr-old under a strong hold at the finish, following her stunning finish from last at the 400m.
Williamson has taken Liberty Stride and Ultimate Stride to Victoria to aim the pair at the Australasian Breeders Crown finals.
Ultimate Stride will have his first start in Australia at Maryborough on Thursday under standing start conditions.
It will be his first race since he ran below his best when third in the Harness Jewels behind Bolt For Brilliance.
Williamson said he was confident the 2yr-old would step away after he trialled well from a stand after arriving in Australia.
Both Williamson trotters, who are owned by Emilio and Mary Rosati of Sydney, will be aimed at the all trotting meeting at Maryborough on August 4.
Williamson hopes Thursday night’s win would be enough to get Liberty Stride in to the group 1 Victoria Trotters Derby.
“Hopefully she has done enough to get in the derby, it is touch and go because there are a big number of 3yr-olds around this year.”
Liberty Stride will revert back to mobile racing if she makes the field, which should help her get away on terms with the field.
Though, Williamson is not concerned about where the horse is at with her manners.
“She just panicked when another horse went past her.”
“She missed away a couple of times at home because she has panicked, it is just ringcraft.”
Ultimate Stride would be aimed at the signature event on the Maryborough card, the group 1 Redwood Classic.