Developing stayer Live And Free has taken an important step towards the Group One Queensland Derby with an accomplished metropolitan debut at Rosehill.
Formerly trained in New Zealand by Murray Baker, Live And Free is now with John O’Shea and romped to a 3-1/4-length victory in Saturday’s TAB.com.au Handicap (1800m).
Primitivo, the $4.40 favourite, led the chasers while Almighty Crown ($8.50) was 2-1/2 lengths back in third.
Live And Free has had three provincial starts, including a maiden win at Kembla Grange in March, before making an important progression in Sydney.
A friend alerted O’Shea to Live And Free when he raced as Patrician and was second in debut at New Plymouth last November.
“He saw him run in a maiden and said sectionally he was very good,” O’Shea said.
“What happens with a horse like him is if they win we can’t get them because they go to Hong Kong. When they’re not qualified we’re some chance of buying them.”
O’Shea says Live And Free is next scheduled to step up to 2000m at Randwick on May 26.
Providing that run goes to plan, James McDonald, who returns from a betting-related 18-month disqualification on May 15, will ride him in the Queensland Derby at Doomben on June 9.
“He probably went a little bit better today than we anticipated but the race fell his his way and it was a beautiful ride from Rachel (King),” O’Shea said.