Lucky Liberty has returned from 18 months off the scene to win two of his four races this campaign with the chance to add another on Pakenham Cup day.
But while getting the injury-plagued gelding back in winnng form is satisfying, trainer Henry Dwyer admits there’s also a feeling of what might have been with a horse he believes has the natural talent of a Group One performer.
“It is satisfying to get him back winning but it’s a bit of a bittersweet feeling knowing he’s probably not going to measure up to the level he should,” Dwyer said.
“But we just try to get him there as sound as we can on race day and he’ll win races based on that, regardless of how fit he is.”
Lucky Liberty won his first three starts as a three-year-old before he was unplaced in the C S Hayes Stakes at Flemington.
He finished second last in the 2015 Australian Guineas after which he was found to have a bone chip in a knee which required surgery.
When he was close to making a return he suffered a stress fracture to a shoulder and needed another long lay-off.
After a fourth placing on his return at Sale in September, Lucky Liberty won back-to-back benchmark races at Caulfield and Sale in October before a third in a 1400m open handicap at Flemington.
Saturday’s $100,000 VOBIS Gold Bullion (1400m) at Pakenham is planned as the final run of his campaign.
Since his Flemington run on November 5, Lucky Liberty has been kept up to the mark with time on a water walker at the Rockmount pre-training facility, north east of Melbourne.
“He had a fortnight up there and arrived back at Caulfield early this week in really good order and he should be able to run up to what he’s been doing on Saturday,” Dwyer said.
Dwyer doesn’t want to race Lucky Liberty over summer and is looking to a late autumn, early winter campaign in Brisbane aimed at the Stradbroke Handicap if he shows he is in form.