The connections of Lucky Liberty have been rewarded for their patience with a victory at Caulfield.
The five-year-old son of Statue Of Liberty was having his second start in 18 months when successful in the Dream Thoroughbreds Handicap on Saturday.
Ridden by Beau Mertens, Lucky Liberty ($6) scored a three-quarter length win from Squeaky Squirrel ($31) with Dane Thunder ($6.50) the same margin away third.
Trainer Henry Dwyer said Lucky Liberty had the potential to be a Group One horse before breaking down, firstly with a large bone chip in his near side knee and then a stress fracture to the off-side shoulder.
“He would have been a Group winner at least by this stage if he didn’t get injured,” Dwyer said.
“He’s a Group One-quality horse but I don’t think we’ll ever see the best of him.
“I’d like to think we could win a Group race with him at some stage as vindication for the owners being so patient.”
Lucky Liberty won his first three starts before the saddle slipped when down the track in the C S Hayes Stakes at Flemington.
He injured his knee when 13th to Wandjina in the Australian Guineas.
Dwyer explained Lucky Liberty was nearing a return to racing following knee surgery when he suffered the stress fracture.
“The injuries by themselves are almost career ending so to come back from both of those is testament to his courage,” Dwyer said.
Lucky Liberty made his return with a fourth placing at Sale last month which coincided with Michelle Payne’s first ride back from pancreatic surgery following her fall at Mildura in May.
Dwyer said Lucky Liberty was likely to head to the Rockmount pre-training facility at Euroa where he will spend time on the water walker before venturing back to the trainer’s stable at Caulfield.
“It will be a bit of a worry how he pulls-up tomorrow morning but we’ll look after him for a couple of weeks and then find another race,” Dwyer said.