Trainer Liam Birchley insists that Miss Longstocking has to perform well in the Group 2 $200,000 Schweppes Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday if she is to continue on with a Melbourne Autumn Carnival campaign.
Missy Longstocking has drawn barrier eight in the field of ten high class sprinters and Birchley said that a below par performance would see the Sequlao mare return to Queensland straight away.
“It is a case of go hard or go home for her. We are looking at the Group One double of the Oakleigh Plate and then the VRC Newmarket,” Birchley told AAP.
“But if she doesn’t show us something on Saturday we would be heading home.”
If Missy Longstocking can return to her best, Birchley will chase a Group 1 double of the $400,000 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 28 and the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 14.
Queensland based jockey Damian Browne has been aboard Miss Longstocking on eleven occasions for six of her eight wins and will be reunited with the mare on Saturday, taking over from Glen Colless.
Colless was having his first ride on Missy Longstocking when she was resuming from a twelve months break when an eye catching third behind Straturbo and Happy Galaxy in the $176,000 Myer Magic Millions Open Sprint (1100m) at the Gold Coast on January 10.
Birchley has been happy with the mare’s work since her first up run at the Gold Coast and her second up record of three from three suggests that she is going to be in the finish.
The flashy mare also has the benefit of winning at the track and had Browne aboard when, as a three year old, she came from well back in the field to win the Group 3 $150,000 Thoroughbred Club Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield during the 2013 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
“She had a jump-out last Tuesday and I would expect her to be forward enough in what looks a very strong race on Saturday,” Birchley said.
“She has flown to Melbourne before on a Wednesday night and raced well on the Saturday when she won a Group Three race at Caulfield.”
Missy Longstocking is currently an $11 chance in the Rubiton Stakes with Ladbrokes.com.au while the Team Hawkes trained Chautauqua is a dominant favourite at $1.60.
Sydney mare Atmospherical is next in the betting at $6.50 just ahead of Peter Morgan and Craig Widdison’s speedy filly Eloping at $7.50.
The lightly raced Chautauqua is having his first run back since running second to Terravista in the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 8 and will jump from barrier three with regular rider Dwayne Dunn back in the saddle.
Dunn was aboard Chautauqua for his two Melbourne Spring Carnival wins at Flemington with victories in the Group 3 $150,000 Bobby Lewis Quality (1200m) and the Group 2 $200,000 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) prior to the Darley Classic.