Queenslander Missy Longstocking has had a dramatic case of the blows in the pre-race betting for the Group 2 $200,000 Schweppes Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
When the field for the Rubiton Stakes was released on Wednesday, the Liam Birchley trained Missy Longstocking was rated as one of the chances at $6.50 with Ladbrokes.com.au but her price has drifted out sharply and she is currently marked at $15.
The Seqaulo mare has had one run back from a twelve months lay off when an unlucky third to Straturbo in the $175,000 Magic Millions Sprint (1100m) at the Gold Coast on January 10 and Birchley is confident she has recovered from a mystery illness that kept her on the sidelines.
“The vets couldn’t agree what was wrong with her and we couldn’t get to the bottom of her problem,” Birchley told Racing Queensland News.
“She had no surgery or anything like that and she could have come back a lot earlier but I decided to give her an extra two or three months off.”
“She was very unlucky not to win first-up but she’s taken significant improvement.”
Birchley elected to return to Melbourne for the Autumn Carnival after the mare showed an affinity for the Caulfield track in scoring a three lengths win with 57kg in the Group 3 $150,000 Thoroughbred Club Stakes (1200m) during the 2013 Spring Carnival.
“I sent her to Melbourne because we think she races best that direction,” Birchley said.
“She won well at Caulfield one day carrying a big weight and travelled wide to beat Anatina.
“It’s a fair case to say she goes better in Melbourne.”
Missy Longstocking was one of the stars of her early two year old season and was undefeated from four race starts before running third to Real Sureal in the 2013 $2m Jeep Magic Millions 2yo Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast.
She continued her winning form as a late two year old with victories in the Listed $100,000 Cellarbrations Lancaster Stakes (1200m) at Doomben and the Listed $100,000 Ambassador Travel Hampden Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm during the 2013 Brisbane Winter Carnival.
Then as an early three year old Birchley took her to Melbourne where she won the Thoroughbred Club Stakes before running ninth to Zoustar in the Group 1 $500,000 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington.
Birchley has set Missy Longstocking a tough task taking on one of the most promising sprinters in the country in Chautauqua and said that if she doesn’t run up to expectation would be returning to Queensland straight away.
“She’ll need to be highly competitive tomorrow if she’s to go on to the Oakleigh Plate and Newmarket,” Birchley said.
But a good performance could see her go on to contest the Group 1 $400,000 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 28 and the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 14.
The Team Hawkes trained Chautauqua dominates the betting at $1.70 ahead of Sydney mare Atmospherical at $6 and the speedy Eloping at $6.50 while Missy Longstocking is the next best at $15 with Oakleigh Girl at $16.