Birchley banks on stud graduate

Liam Birchley’s hopes of a third victory in the Listed Karaka Million will rest with a WS graduate. The Eagle Farm trainer’s first attempt to claim New Zealand racing’s richest event resulted in a second placing in 2009 with Sarge In Charge before he returned the following year to go one better with Sister Havana.
He successfully returned to Ellerslie 12 months ago with Hardline and on January 24 it will be the turn of the debut winner O’Reilly Cyrus. “Ability-wise they are very close,” he said. “This filly has probably got a bit more scope and she should get a mile later on.”
Birchley purchased O’Reilly Cyrus for $100,000 out of WS’s 2015 Premier Sale line-up. She is by the late O’Reilly out of the Masterclass mare Dancing Mistress who is also the dam of the stakes winner Savour The Moment (Savabeel), the black type performer Striptease (Danasinga) and the multiple winner Seize The Moment (Pins).
Successful first time out at Doomben for owner Craig Cygler, O’Reilly Cyrus is currently 10th in order of entry to the Karaka Million and she won’t race again before she heads across the Tasman. “With another run she might get a bit too dour so I’ll trial her next Tuesday at the Gold Coast,” Birchley said. Expatriate Kiwi jockey Damian Browne, who won on Hardline a year ago, is likely to take the mount at Ellerslie.

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