Former international Group 1 champion Green Birdie hasn’t seen the inside of a winners’ stall in Australia in over six years but that hasn’t dampened the spirits of their new trainer Tony Vasil heading into Saturday’s Bletchingly Stakes 2012 at Caulfield Racecourse.
The rising nine-year-old Catbird gelding started their career in Australia with Brian Jenkins and was one of the boom juveniles in 2006 winning the Blue Sapphire Classic at just their third start.
That spring the then three-year-old ran a good fourth to Gold Edition in the Group 1 Ascot Vale Stakes (1200m) at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival which was their final race on Aussie soil until this month.
Green Birdie was sent overseas to race in early 2007 and enjoyed a success career based in Hong Kong.
Their 2007-08 season was a cracker with performances including a fourth in the Group 1 Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m), victory in the Group 2 Hong Kong Derby Trial (1800m) and a third in the Group 1 Hong Kong Derby (2000m).
More Group success was to follow next prep with Green Birdie posting another Group 1 minor placing when going down a nose to Inspiration in the 2008 Hong Kong Sprint.
In May of 2010 the always honest sprinter finally broke their Group 1 duck when travelling to Singapore’s Kranji Racecourse to beat home ace local champion Rocket Man in the Group 1 Krisflyer International Sprint (1200m).
Green Birdie continued to race against the top international sprinters in Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai and Japan over the next 18 months but failed to finish better than fourth in their eight runs following the Krisflyer victory.
Their final run at Sha Tin was a disappointing 11th to Lucky Nine in last December’s Hong Kong Sprint, after which they were sent back to Australia where they joined Vasil’s Caulfield stables.
After their lengthy international stint Green Birdie hit the turf in Australia again on July 14 when finishing three and a half lengths away seventh to in-form young filly Platelet in the Listed Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) in the wet at Caulfield.
The Monash Stakes was Green Birdie’s first start in seven months and their first run since being gelded and Vasil is confident they can improve second-up when they race in Saturday’s $125,000 Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m).
Last start they had the extreme outside barrier to overcome (15 of 15), were late away from the gates, got caught in traffic and couldn’t let down properly on the Heavy (9) – all amendable as long as they get away from barrier two on Saturday without issue.
It seems the bookies agree with Green Birdie installed as the current co-favourite in the early Bletchingly Stakes odds with Monash Stakes third placegetter Zamorar, David Bourne’s Scandal Keeper three-year-old paying around $4.40.
The other top fancy in the latest Bletchingly Stakes betting markets is then Peter Moody’s last start All Victorian Sprint Final victor Ready To Rip ($5).
Along with Green Birdie there are two other former Group 1 champions racing in the 2012 Bletchingly Stakes field with the Mick Price-trained resuming WFA galloper Heart Of Dreams and David Hayes’ 2011 Oakleigh Plate winner Eagle Falls who pay $12 and $14 respectively.
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