Trainer Liam Birchley is confident talented stayer Pop ‘N’ Scotch has the ability to return to winning form when he lines up for the Listed Queensland Cup (3200m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Pop ‘N’ Scotch has remained one of Queensland’s leading stayers through recent seasons and is a proven performer at the class and distance of Saturday’s feature, having run second in the two most recent editions of the race.
Having returned from a preparation with Darren Weir in terrific order, Birchley told AAP the Husson gelding will relish a return to two miles in the Queensland Cup 2016 but concedes the horse has been in work for a long time and may be found wanting in the race’s late stages.
“The Queensland Cup seems to be his race but he has been up for a long while and that is the worry,” Birchley said.
“He was home everywhere but the line. I didn’t have him the previous year when he was a three-year-old and he was second to Iggi Pop.”
Birchley has confirmed Robert Thompson to take the ride on the five-year-old in Queensland Cup, and is confident the veteran hoop’s style will add to Pop ‘N’ Scotch’s chances of success.
“Robert rides a bit longer than most jockeys and that will suit Pop ‘N’ Scotch. I have had a lot of success with Robert over the years,” Birchley said.
Pop ‘N’ Scotch began his racing career under the guidance of John Thompson in 2014; posting four wins and a further five minors through a subsequent thirty-one start campaign to date.
Stamping himself as a stayer to follow through an impressive three-year-old campaign, Pop ‘N’ Scotch won the Quest Breakfast Creek Handicap (2200m), and while luckless in running in the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m), responded with success in the Lisa Wallace Handicap (2200m) before running second to Iggi Pop in the Queensland Cup.
Transferring to Birchley’s care prior to his 2015 campaign, the gelding out Popnik won the Ipswich Provincial Stayers Cup (2150m) most notably and while again failing to figure at Group level in the Group 3 Tattersall’s Cup (2400m), ended his campaign second to Mister Impatience in the Queensland Cup.
Failing to make much of an impact upon transferring to the care of Weir at the start of 2016 and trialled over the jumps several times, Pop ‘N’ Scotch ran ninth in the Listed Caloundra Cup (2400m) in his first start back for Birchley on July 2nd.
Ladbrokes Australia is currently offering Pop ‘N’ Scotch at 2016 Queensland Cup odds of $13.