BENDIGO trainer Nick Smart has endured his share of frustration with Mr Liberty, but the good times will always far outweigh the bad.
The eight-year-old gelding notched up his seventh career win at Casterton on Saturday with a bold front-running performance in a benchmark 58 high-weight event.
It broke an 18-month win drought for Mr Liberty, who, throughout his career, has dished up semi-regular reminders of the ability he possessed in winning a city race at Morphettville at just his third career start as a three-year-old.
In all, three of his seven wins have been at metropolitan level.
A staple of his stable back in South Australia and since his shift across the border, Smart has an obvious affinity for Mr Liberty.
And despite the gelding's career not always living up to expectations, his trainer would not trade a single memory.
"He's been a frustrating horse. He promised a lot early and won at his first start in town at Morphettville very impressively," Smart said.
"Two days after that he was on the operating table and he's never really been the same again.
"He's still been a handy horse, but he never lived up to what he was going to be.
"It's disappointing, but he has still been a really good horse for me.
"He was the first yearling I bought, my first city winner, and he was the first winner I had when I moved to Victoria.
"I have always had a soft spot for him. He's been with me all the way."
Mr Liberty was effectively retired after a five-month stint in Port Lincoln, in the hands of trainer Darryl Carrison, ending in March last year, but about three months ago won a reprieve.
"He was a little bit sore in his front legs at the end of his previous preparation and I thought down there on the beach might suit him," he said.
"He was retired after that.
"I saw him at mum and dad's farm there probably three months ago and he looked well, so I thought I'd give him another go.
"We'll have a look around .... there's another high-weight race at Warrnambool next Sunday. I'd have to step him up in ground a bit, but he might be a chance (to run)."
Following wins on consecutive Saturdays with Go Ballistic at Donald last week and Mr Liberty, Smart has been further buoyed by a positive report from the vet for his Brierly Steeplechase winner Getting Leggie.
A leg injury sustained by the seven-year-old gelding was not as bad as earlier feared and Smart now considers him some chance of lining up in next Sunday's $90,000 Thackeray Steeplechase (3450m) at Warrnambool.
"He might be right, we'll see how he gets through the week," he said.
"I was thinking we were going to have to lower our sights a bit, but we got good reports on Thursday afternoon."
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