Veteran sprinter Green Birdie makes their Australian return on Saturday after a five year stretch racing in Hong Kong, the now Tony Vasil-trained eight-year-old to contest the Sir John Monash Stakes 2012 at Caulfield.
The Catbird gelding began their career in Melbourne under Brian Jenkins winning two of their opening three starts in the autumn of 2006 including the Blue Sapphire Classic as a two-year-old.
They were sold to new connections at the end of that year however and were sent to race in Hong Kong.
During their time there Green Birdie raced competitively against many of the world’s best sprinters with highlights including their 2008 Group 2 Hong Kong Derby Trial win, 2008 Group 1 Hong Kong Derby third, 2008 Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint second and 2010 Group 1 Krisflyer International Sprint victory in Singapore defeating crack local Rocket Man.
They were last seen running a disappointing 11th to Lucky Nine in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin last December, after which they returned to Australia for what is likely to be their swansong season.
Nominated for the $100,000 Listed Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) on Saturday, Green Birdie will be accepted for the feature after a successful jumpout at Caulfield on Tuesday morning.
Damien Oliver was aboard the veteran for the hitout and is set to retain the ride in the Monash, which will be the horses first start on Aussie turf since their fourth to Gold Edition in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m), then registered as the Ascot Vale Stakes, during the 2006 Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington.
“He’s running and Damien Oliver is riding him,” Vasil’s racing manager Sam Doran confirmed.
“He did enough (in the jumpout).
“There’s no prizes for winning trials but he did enough to show he is forward enough to run on Saturday.”
Should Green Birdie live up to their trial performance with a good run on Saturday then it will be onto the early spring carnival features with the $125,000 Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) back at Caulfield on July 28.
The 2012 Sir John Monash Stakes final field and barrier draw is due for release shortly.
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