Avoid Lightning Wins 2014 Birthday Card Stakes

Talented mare Avoid Lightning has produced a strong final straight sprint to take advantage of a good position and win the Group 3 Birthday Card Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens this afternoon ahead of an unlucky Plucky Belle, Aerobatics running through for third.

Avoid Lightning has claimed the 2014 Birthday Card Stakes

Avoid Lightning has claimed the 2014 Birthday Card Stakes. Photo: Steve Hart

Jumping well, Avoid Lightning settled in good position on the heels of early leaders Meliora, Shahad and Single Style over the back straight and found a clear run rounding the bend into the early section of the final straight, breaking from the pack and maintaining a good tempo to finish a short nose ahead of Plucky Belle in a photo finish, who was unlucky to be squeezed out twice and blocked for a run only 200 metres from the post.

Trainer Les Bridge was delighted with Avoid Lightning’s win in the 2014 Birthday Card Stakes, particularly having only saddled the talented Blevic mare for a short period of time.

“She’s an honest mare” Bridge said following the race.

“I’ve had her about three months; she came from Adelaide and they sent her over here because they couldn’t get the races to suit her and thought we might get a few soft tracks, so it’s worked out alright.

“She’s not a mare who has had a lot of races, so she might have a few more of those stakes wins in her.

“This one’s got the courage and that’s the main thing.”

Jockey Tim Clark delivered a perfectly timed ride on Avoid Lightning in the Birthday Card Stakes, but conceded Plucky Belle might have been unlucky to not finish in front.

“Obviously a bit stiff the other day, just had no-where to go and looks like the second horse was stiff here today, but we were unlucky the other day so it was our turn” Clarke said immediately after dismounting.

“I was happy where I was; she likes a bit of give in the track but it might have even been a little bit too wet for her.

“Dead to slow you see a really good turn of foot, where today she sprinted well but plugged a bit.

“I was in the running line and I had to come around Brenton (Avdulla, Single Style) and we just ended up out in the centre of the track or wider.

Having received a large amount of rain throughout the week, Clarke believes despite today’s more promising weather, the Rosehill track shouldn’t firm up too much.

“It definitely won’t get any better than heavy, but it’s a genuine heavy” Clarke added.

While yet to set a path for Avoid Lightning in stone this preparation, an appearance in next weekend’s Group 3 Sebring Stakes (1200m) is a clear possibility.

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2014 Birthday Card Stakes Results

Finish No. Horse Trainer Jockey Margin Bar. Weight Starting Price
1 3 AVOID LIGHTNING Les Bridge Tim Clark 4 56.5kg $6.50
2 5 PLUCKY BELLE Peter G Moody Chad Schofield 0.1L 3 56.5kg $5
3 2 AEROBATICS Peter Snowden Kerrin McEvoy 1.1L 2 57kg $8.50
4 7 RECOINAGE Joseph Pride Jason Collett 1.6L 1 54kg $10
5 8 SINGLE STYLE (NZ) Gary Portelli Brenton Avdulla 2.6L 5 54kg $3.90F
6 9 ANGEL BEE (NZ) Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes James McDonald 4.9L 8 54kg $5
7 10 SHAHAD Gai Waterhouse Tommy Berry 5.4L 6 54kg $11
8 6 MELIORA Peter G Moody Craig Newitt 15.8L 7 54kg $21


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