Wet track to boost chances of Birchley’s pair in Lough Neagh Stakes

A rain affected Doomben track on Saturday will boost the chances of trainer Liam BIrchely’s two runners, Time To Plunder and Cum Dividend, in the Listed $175,000 Garrards Lough Neagh Stakes (1350m).

Time To Plunder, the grey above, will appreciate a rain affected track at Doomben in the Lough Neagh Stakes. Photo by Daniel Costello.

Time To Plunder, the grey above, will appreciate a rain affected track at Doomben in the Lough Neagh Stakes. Photo by Daniel Costello.

Both sprinters are rated as outsiders in the twelve horse field and are both marked at $21 with Ladbrokes.com.au but Birchley is giving them a realistic chance if Doomben receives any more rain before start time.

Doomben was rated a Soft 7 on Friday morning after receiving 18mm of rain in the last seven days with further showers forecast for Saturday morning.

Time To Plunder has won twice on the soft and once on the heavy and is in form with a win two starts back in the Listed $100,000 Brisclean Keith Noud Handicap (1200m) at Doomben on November 22.

And Birchley was happy to forgive the grey six year old his last start when he struck trouble in the straight before running seventh to Big Money in the Group 3 $200,000 Channel Seven George Moore Stakes (1200m) at Doomben on December 6.

“If you look at his last run he should clearly have finished in the placings,” Birchley told Racing Queensland News.

“He was disappointed for a run at a vital stage in the straight but he got going again and hit the line strongly.

“I’m very happy with him and if we get any rain it will bring him right into the race.”

Cum Dividend also has an outstanding wet track record with four wins on a soft track and one on the heavy and is also racing in winning form.

The Show A Heart six year old resumed from a spell with a third to Love Rocks in an 1110m BenchMark90 Handicap at Doomben on October and then won a 1200m BenchMark85 at Doomben on November 29.

“He’s in a difficult position with his rating,” Birchley said.

“He’s been very consistent but there’s not many options available for him.

“If it happened to rain it would boost his chances a lot.”

Time To Plunder will be ridden by the in-form Larry Cassidy and has drawn the rails while apprentice Travis Wolfgram will stick with Cum Dividend who will jump from gate five.

The Tony Gollan trained Whiskey Allround and George Moore Stakes winner Big Money share favouritism at $3.60 ahead of Someday at $7, Cape Kidnappers at $7.50, Vandalised and Into The Red at $12 and Harada Bay at $17.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.

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