BIRCHLEY HAS MAGIC MILLIONS IN SIGHT
Thursday, 26 December 2013: Classy filly Missy Longstocking and two-year-old Sagatona will be out to stake their Magic Millions carnival claims at Doomben.
BRISBANE Dec 26 AAP - Trainer Liam Birchley is confident he will be proved correct on two fronts with his Magic Millions hopefuls Missy Longstocking and Sagatona at Doomben on Saturday.
Missy Longstocking has her final hitout before the Magic Millions Guineas in the Vo Rogue Plate (1350m) while Sagatona will be trying to force her way into the Magic Millions Classic via the B J McLachlan Stakes (1200m).
Birchley has long held the view that Missy Longstocking will be adept at distances up to 1600-metres.
Missy Longstocking has won eight races and $644,000 in prize money but due to various circumstances has only raced once beyond 1200-metres.
That resulted in an unplaced effort in the BRC Sires' Produce Stakes last year but it wasn't an accurate guide as she struck trouble in the run.
Miss Longstocking won the Group Three Thoroughbred Club Stakes at Caulfield during the spring then failed to handle the Flemington straight course when ninth in the Coolmore Stud Stakes.
She was unlucky when trapped wide throughout for third at Doomben on December 7, her only run since the Melbourne campaign.
Birchley said he would be disappointed if Missy Longstocking didn't race well in the Vo Rogue Plate and then press on to the Magic Millions Guineas on January 11.
"There will be no excuses on Saturday. She is well in at the weights, has a good draw and (jockey) Damian Browne is back on her," he said.
"She had no luck last start and only got beaten half a length. If she had won by a nose nothing would have been said."
Birchley said Missy Longstocking would have to win or be finishing strongly to press on to the Magic Millions Guineas.
He also admits he is rolling the dice by backing up Sagatona in the McLachlan Stakes after the filly's unlucky fourth at Doomben last Saturday.
However, with only $10,500 prize money Sagatona needs to win or run second in the McLachlan to make the Magic Millions field.
"Luckily I had her nominated for the McLachlan in case things went wrong in the Phelan Ready. As it turned out that's what happened and we have no choice but to run on Saturday," Birchley said.
"She is a big, strong filly and I am confident she can race well Saturday-to-Saturday. My only reservation is she would be better placed at Eagle Farm."