Horses To Follow » Liberty Dance

Liberty Dance

Liberty Dance did well to finish fourth in the Paddy Mullins Mares’ Handicap Hurdle at Leopardstown last Sunday. Settled just worse than mid-division early on, Gordon Elliott’s mare travelled well through her race for Davy Russell, and she made nice ground as they left the back straight and raced around the by-passed second last flight. She had a wall of horses in front of her at that point however, they hadn’t gone a great gallop and several rivals were still travelling well as they raced to the home turn. She made good ground though around the home turn, and she travelled best of all into the home straight. She moved up nicely on the outside and, while the leaders quickened away from her a little, she kept on well on the run-in to finish fourth, just four lengths behind the winner Ballybawn Belter.

This was a race in which the pace held up well. The first four finished nicely clear of their rivals, and Liberty Dance came from much further back than the other three mares who, with her, filled the first four places. She is a talented mare, she won two of her three bumpers last season, and she finished a close-up third in the other, the Grade 2 mares’ bumper at this meeting last year. And she is progressive, she had won her previous two races on the run into this race. Gordon Elliott had won two of the previous three renewals of this race, with Black Tears, who finished second in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham the following month, and who won the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham the following year, and Party Central, who was beaten in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham next time, but who rounded off the season by winning a listed mares’ novices’ hurdle at the Punchestown Festival, earning a rating of 142, 21lb higher than the mark off which she won the Paddy Mullins Mares’ Hurdle. Liberty Dance has lots of potential for progression now. She holds an entry in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, and she would be of interest if she took her chance in that, but she would be of more interest in another handicap now off a mark of 131, just 2lb higher than the mark off which she raced on Sunday.
Leopardstown, 5th February 2023