Melbourne trainer Tony Vasil has given international galloper Green Birdie one more chance to prove his worth when he lines up in the Listed $100,000 Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Vasil is not worried that Green Birdie has drawn the outside in the field of sixteen at his first start in Australia for almost six years and expects the eight year old to acquit himself well.
“He’s a bugger to ride in work. He’s rising nine but really he’s feeling like a three-year-old,” Vasil said.
“Usually it’s a small field in the Monash with seven or eight runners but with the big field they will run along which will suit him. He’ll be ridden quietly to get home strongly.”
Green Birdie was heading to the retirement paddock after winning four races while based in Hong Kong and his best win was in the 2010 Group 1 $765,000 Krisflyer International Sprint (1200m) at Kranji in Singapore beating local champion Rocket Man.
Vasil was able to convince Green Birdie’s owners to give the old campaigner one more preparation and he will be having his first race start in Australia since running fourth to Gold Edition in the 2006 Group 1 $500,000 Longines Ascot Vale Stakes at Flemington.
“The owner was a friend of a friend and I made some inquiries about whether I could have a shot training him rather than him going straight into retirement. I just thought give him one preparation as there’s nothing to lose. He’s in reality a lightly raced horse as he’s only had 40 starts,” Vasil said.
If Green Birdie performs up to Vasil’s expectations over the short distances he might consider stepping him up to 1600m later in the campaign.
“He’s a noted Group 1 sprinter who has defeated Rocket Man but he’s also been placed in a Hong Kong Derby. I might look at stretching him out to a mile if he can recapture his best,” Vasil said.
The veteran eight year old who has started forty times, is a $17 chance in Monash early markets which sees Peter Moody’s lightly raced three year old filly La Societe, who has only faced the starter on four occasions the $4.80 favourite.