An upset win in last Saturday’s Gai Waterhouse Classic at Ipswich has earned the Liam Birchley-trained Blueberry Hill a quick back-up into Group 1 company for this weekend’s 2016 Tattersall’s Tiara.
The progressive Myboycharlie filly posted her first win since the Group 2 Champagne Stakes (1200m) at Doomben in May last year when apprentice James Orman guided her to a half-length victory over stablemate Elusive Catch ($10) in the $100,000 Listed Gai Waterhouse Classic (1350m) on Ipswich Cup Day.
After jumping from a wide barrier 10 of 13 draw on the back of a failed eighth to Ghisoni in the Group 3 Glenlogan Park Stakes (1350m) in late May, three-year-old Blueberry Hill produced a gutsy effort in her Ipswich debut relishing the rain-affected track.
“I took her along slowly this time but a few things went wrong. I put blinkers on her and she bolted in her race, so they came off today and that worked,” Birchley told AAP on Saturday after the win.
“I was a lot more confident when they downgraded the track to soft.”
She beat home plenty of class rivals in the fillies’ and mares’ feature including the Gai Waterhouse-trained third placegetter Echo Gal ($4.60) and the Michael Moroney-trained favourite Serenade ($3.20) by 2.2 lengths and 4.1 lengths respectively.
Brisbane-based Birchley now plans to back his Gai Waterhouse Classic winner Blueberry Hill up on successive Saturdays giving her a chance in the $500,000 Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) in weight-for-age company at Eagle Farm Racecourse.
“I will probably enter her for the Tatts Tiara at Eagle Farm, but who knows if she will handle it,” he said.
“One thing I have always thought she was a class horse and it is the last Group One of the season.”
Birchley has saddled-up three previous Tattersall’s Tiara starters without success.
He hopes Blueberry Hill can change that on Saturday as she looks to join Cosmic Endeavour (2014), Pear Tart (2012), Yosei (2011) and Melito (2010) as the most recent fillies to beat home the older mares in the race.
Currently Ciaron Maher’s Queen of the Turf Stakes winning mare Azkadellia is the short-priced favourite in Tattersall’s Tiara betting despite her last start 10th in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at the same track (Eagle Farm) and distance.
Other hopefuls high up the Tattersall’s Tiara odds include Chris Waller’s Queensland Guineas winning Dane Shadow filly Tsaritsa and the Henry Dwyer-trained six-year-old Robert Sangster Stakes winner two back Precious Gem.
Blueberry Hill, if accepted, will be at a roughie’s price and Birchley has also ruled out his Gai Waterhouse Classic runner-up Elusive Catch from the Group 1.
“I am not sure where we will go with her as she might need something a bit easier than the Tiara,” he said.
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