The market is convinced that Ron Quinton’s Ljungberg will continue his progression in the $125,000, Doug Carroll Bm 72 Handicap (1300m) at Rosehill on Saturday with the I Am Invincible gelding backed from $2.20 earlier Friday into $1.70 after opening on Wednesday at $2.60.
This is despite a weight change after Ljungberg’s last win when he carried 56kg over 1300m on the Kensington track at Randwick to defeat Above And Beyond carrying 56.5kg by 3 3/4L. On Saturday Ljungberg carries 57.5kg under Kerrin McEvoy while Gary Portelli’s Above And Beyond drops to 55kg under Jason Collett.
The market has ignored that with TAB.com.au’s market pricing Above And Beyond at $14.00 on Friday afternoon after opening at $11.00.
Ljungberg’s nearest rival is the Walker trained Bring The Magic at $6.00 and while the Sebring filly is a last start winner, over 1400m at Kensington on January 1st, she just might have to live up to her name even with 53kg under Tommy Berry.
In his last win Ljungberg was allowed to cruise to the leaders passing the 400m under Hugh Bowman and then 100m later Bowman shook the reins to step up the tempo and that quickly was the race.
“He has come up really well this prep. We have taken a lot of time to get him to relax and travel. He could jump out and lead if he wanted to but he is relaxing beautifully now and he is finishing them off really strongly,” said Quinton after the win.
“He could always gallop but his first couple of times in he was not quite right. A really good spell and we concentrated on this prep and he has gone from strength to strength.”
Ljungberg, out of the Holy Roman Emperor mare Octavia, won at Canterbury over 1200m on December 14th with Andrew Adkins, who has taken a short medical break from riding due to ill health, up as he had been for the previous three starts.
Stakes earnings are now $127,070 for the large ownership group of Mr R J Gall, Mr B D Gall, Mr R J Hansberry, Mr D C Harrop, Mr S J Thomson, Mr P J Dunn, Mr S J Connors, Mr M D Bovingdon, Mr D H Long, Mr P J Brown, Mr C J Seidel, Mr C Timewell, Mr R Timewell, Mr B Harrop, Mr A M Momsen, Mr J D Packer and Mr S Dooley.
The Doug Carroll Handicap is Race 2 at 1.55pm.
Ljungberg and Hugh Bowman at Randwick, picture Sportpix.com.au