Trainer Liam Birchley is increasingly confident he can score a revenge win in next month’s Group Two Villiers Stakes after his gelding Crack Me up scored an impressive stakes victory at Doomben.
Crack Me Up ($2.70) made the most of the inside barrier and a light weight on Saturday to beat Torgersen ($13) by 1-1/4 lengths, with another 1-1/4 lengths to Hopfgarten ($13) in the Listed Recognition Stakes (1350m).
Queensland has a good record in the Villiers. Its most recent winner was Rudy in 2014.
Birchley believes Crack Me Up has the right form to win the Villiers.
“I went close with a horse called Rags To Riches a few years back and he should have won. Crack Me Up shouldn’t get too much weight in the Villiers and he’s a good stakes-class horse.”
Birchley said Crack Me Up had matured late in his three-year-old career, winning the Sunshine Coast Guineas and the Tattersalls Mile.
“The penny has dropped with him now. I will run in the Brisbane Handicap at 1600 metres in two weeks time and from there we will go to the Villiers at Randwick,” Birchley said.
“Whether we then come back for the Bernborough Stakes in Brisbane is up in the air.”
Matt McGillivray scored his first stakes winner with Crack Me Up and hopes to retain the ride through the summer.
“The inside barrier and his weight helped but he really sprinted in the straight,” McGillivray said.
Earlier, Chris Waller’s Queensland foreman, Paul Shailer, said he was resigned to losing Monasterio ($5) back to Sydney after the gelding won the Ray Garske Memorial Plate (1630m).
“He ran in the Queensland Derby last season and he is a handy horse. He seems to have taken another step up here and Chris is keen to give him chance in Sydney,” Shailer said.
The Waller stable made it a double when Kirini ($11), who is part-owned by one of Waller’s biggest owners, Neville Morgan, beat his stablemate The Rumour File ($9) in the GH Mumm Handicap (2200m).
“She’s also improving but she will be staying up here. I don’t know how strong the field was she beat today but she did it well,” Shailer said.