Queensland hoop Damien Browne is excited to get back in the saddle of Liam Birchley’s 2013 Magic Millions Classic hope Missy Longstocking when the unbeaten filly runs in the Calaway Gal Stakes at Eagle Farm this Saturday.
Ridden by Aidan Holt for her big six length win on debut at Toowoomba over 850m on October 20, Missy Longstocking had Browne aboard last start when she won again this time by a blistering seven lengths in a 1000m 2YO handicap at Eagle Farm in early November, an effort Browne believes she can improve on again third-up.
“I’m not too sure if she could’ve gone much quicker because she’s a naturally free-running horse but she carried 58kg and the horse she beat had some good raps on her going into that race,” he said.
“She can be a little bit slow out of the barriers, just half a length or so, but she musters speed very quickly and because that was only her second start you would expect her to get better with that experience under her belt.”
Saturday sees the daughter of Sequalo step up in class taking on a decent field of fellow two-year-old fillies in the $100,000 Listed Calaway Gal Stakes (1000m), a classic lead-up to the $2 million Gold Coast Magic Millions Classic (1200m) on January 12 next year.
Browne has been fighting to get fit enough to partner Missy Longstocking in the Calaway Gal after being thrown from the Rob Heathcote-trained Any Poet at the Sunshine Coast last Sunday.
While his bruising and minor injuries saw him miss Wednesday’s Doomben meeting, he is confident he’ll be right for Saturday and that missing the midweek race day was only a precautionary measure.
“I thought the body could do with a couple of extra days heading into the weekend rather than risk doing more damage by riding at Doomben,” he said.
“I’m not a young fella anymore and I don’t bounce back as well as I should but a couple of extra days and I’ll be right for Saturday.”
In the futures Magic Millions Classic odds Missy Longstocking is rated a $14 chance occupying the fifth line of betting, markets led by the Chris Waller-trained Champagne Cath, making her the best fancied Queensland contender for the summer’s richest race.
While acknowledging the class rise for her on Saturday, Browne remains confident Missy Longstocking is the one to beat in the Calaway, and that she will shape up as a promising type for the MM Classic.
“It’s a bit of a step up for her on Saturday but she’s very promising and she looks the right horse for the Magic Millions,” he said.
His confidence enjoyed a boost when the filly, who he describes as very versatile, drew ideally with barrier five of 12 for the weekend.
“She relaxes pretty well so I do think she could take a sit if she had to but in saying that she gathers speed that quickly it’s going to take a fast horse to head her,” he said.
“Hopefully I won’t have to gas her too much to take up a position and her good barrier gives me options if need be.”
And as for her main danger? Browne believes the Heathcote-trained Greytfilly in gate eight will bring some stiff competition based on her eye-catching three length win at Doomben over 1110m on October 27.
“Her win at Doomben was good and I was impressed with the way she hit the line really strongly,” he said.
The 2012 Gaythorne RSL Calaway Gal Stakes is set to run as Eagle Farm Race 3 at 1:30pm (AEST).
Betting on the Eagle Farm Races and the Calaway Gal is due to open at bookmaker.com.au shortly so get ready for the excitement by joining Australia’s premier sportsbet today and enjoy a $400 bonus welcome bet on the house when you deposit and enter the code word BONUSBET!