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Trainer Liam Birchley will not rush Hardline into stakes company despite having Group One ambitions for the three-year-old this spring.

Hardline will stay in Brisbane for the time being and make a return to city racing on Saturday at Doomben where he has been entered for two races.

The winner of New Zealand’s richest race, the $1 million Karaka Million for two-year-olds, Hardline is being aimed at the Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington on October 31.

The gelding had knee surgery after his New Zealand win and Birchley has carefully managed his comeback.

Hardline was due to return at Doomben two weeks ago but Birchley felt the track would be too hard and took him to the Sunshine Coast where he scored an easy win.

“He has done well since and I am in no rush to head south with him just yet. There are a couple of races which will suit him here,” Birchley said.

“But I will have to see how the tracks come up. I won’t be starting him on any surface too hard.”

Birchley is also hoping he can give stakes-winning filly Blueberry Hill a jump-out in the next week.

Blueberry Hill, who won the Group Two Champange Classic in the winter, is recovering from a hamstring injury.

Fellow Queensland trainer Bruce Hill is preparing to travel two of his stable’s three-year-olds with Man Of His Word and Winning Accord entered for Saturday’s Group Two Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill.

Both are also entered for the Caulfield Guineas and will face Group One winner Press Statement if they run in the Stan Fox.

Their stablemate, Group One placegetter Teronado, will undergo blood tests in an attempt to explain his failure at Doomben on Saturday.

Syndicate manager Steve Foster is hoping the wet track can be blamed for the failure but wants to take no chances.

 
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