Promising filly Aliberani has ramped up Peter Moody’s assault on next month’s Rivette Final by winning the third heat of the series at Sandown.
The daughter of Redoute’s Choice scored a dogged victory in Wednesday’s Ice Creams & Dreams Handicap (1600m) and joins stablemate Dayita as a top qualifier for the $100,000 Final (1600m) at Flemington on July 7.
Aliberani has raced five times and her two wins have both been on heavy tracks.
She won her maiden by 4-1/2 lengths at Ballarat on May 26 but had to work harder for her second win when Perfectly Stunning pushed her out to the line at Sandown.
“I felt her (Aliberani) quicken good enough and was a little surprised the second horse got as close as it did,” jockey Luke Nolen said.
Aliberani ($3.90) was prominent throughout the event and fought off Perfectly Stunning ($11) to score a three-quarter length win.
Catalina Sounds ($20) finished 3-3/4 lengths away third.
Nolen said Aliberani could measure up in longer races.
“She had a good kick and was very strong through the line at end of a mile on a genuine heavy track today so 2000 metres may well be within her scope,” Nolen said.
“Her racing style is going to win her a lot of races and she looks to have a good future.”
Moody’s stable foreman Tom Brideoake agreed.
“It is a super result getting the city win and I think there is better to come,” Brideoake said.
However Aliberani is regarded as the stable’s second string for the Rivette behind Dayita who was a five-length heat winner at Sale on May 31.
“Dayita is the main one at the moment but this filly (Aliberani) has always been a nice type,” Brideoake said.
Meanwhile, Darren Gauci’s career continues to gather momentum with a winning double providing him with his 13th and 14th wins since his comeback to the saddle two months ago after a serious back injury.
Gauci, 47, scored on Gracious Babe ($10) in the Ladies in Racing Magazine Handicap (1400m) and Bianmick ($9) who remarkably fought back after being headed a length by Hot Power to land the D’Urban Handicap (1800m).
A four-time premier rider, Gauci said he had enjoyed good support from many trainers since his return.
“I was off for a good 10 months but was fortunate enough to get on a couple of horses that can handle the wet with okay form that weren’t favourites,” Gauci said.