Birchley’s new start without Aquanita

Liam Birchley has mutually agreed to relinquish his association with Victorian based-Aquanita Racing and will be training in his own right for the first Saturday since 2002 this weekend.

The Eagle Farm mentor will rely on a few old favourites and some promising youngsters to get off to a successful new start.

“There is no blew or anything with Aquanita, it is just I have a young family and thought I would handle things from here,” Birchley said.

“It really means a change of racing colours and a bit more administration work.”

Birchley has five runners entered for Saturday’s Eagle Farm meet including horses in both Listed races.

The consistent Liesele runs in the Travel Associates Classic (1200m) while stable stalwart Pepperwood tackles the Recognition Stakes (1600m).

Birchley is waiting on Larry Cassidy’s decision on whether to ride on Saturday for Liesele.

Cassidy was involved in a race fall at Doomben yesterday which left apprentice Priscilla Schmidt in hospital with mendable injuries.

Despite being badly bruised, Cassidy came out of the race relatively unscathed.

The experienced hoop is giving himself a 75% chance of riding.

Cassidy will test out a horse tomorrow morning at trackwork before giving himself the all clear.

Birchley is giving Liesele a good chance after it drew barrier two.

The daughter of Exceed and Excel has earned runner-up cheques at her past three starts.

“She has drawn well for a change and that should make all the difference,” Birchley said.

“The barrier seems important to her, she generally runs well when she gets a good draw.”

Pepperwood may be in need of a run according to Birchley.

The seven-year-old hasn’t raced for over a month.

He is being prepared for the $200,000 Listed Bernborough (1615m) at Doomben on New Year’s Eve and the $200,000 Magic Millions Stayers Cup (1800m) on January 14.

Pepperwood has previously tasted success in both races and in fact will be attempting to win a third Bernborough in a row.

Birchley is expecting an improvement from his two-year-old Highly Contagious in the Hamilton Hotel 2YO (1000m).

The son of Haradasun was gelded after “disgracing himself” at his first race start at Randwick.

“He showed us a bit early and seems to be back on track now – I expect him to run well,” Birchley said.

Snip and Duck hasn’t raced since July but is “quite forward” for the Benchmark 85 Hcp (1200m).

“He races well fresh, he is quite forward for it, but will need a bit of luck from the wide gate,” Birchley said.

Promising galloper Show A Prince will contest the Hardy Brothers three-year-old Handicap (1000m).

“He is pretty forward going into this race,” Birchley said.

“I expect him to hit the line hard.

“As long as they can make ground in the straight, he will be a good chance.

“The major plan is the ($1m Gold Coast) Magic Millions Guineas,” Birchley said.




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