Trainer Liam Birchley hopes a midweek restricted race will be the springboard to possible winter carnival riches for talented filly Liesele who makes her comeback at Eagle Farm on Wednesday.
Birchley has a good opinion of the three-year-old and expects a strong first-up performance if he clears her to start in Wednesday’s Bollinger Handicap (1000m).
Liesele ran ran a slick 1:9.07 for 1200m when resuming with an ultra-impressive first-up win at Grafton in July last year before a strong-finishing third in The Rosebud (1200m) on heavy ground at Rosehill later that month.
She again impressed with another first-up victory in a 1000-metre class three at Eagle Farm in December before her last-start second to Celtic Dancer on another heavy track at the Gold Coast on January 1.
Birchley is disappointed Liesele is facing another rain-affected track for her return and will wait until the last minute before deciding if she will start after drawing badly in barrier 14.
“I’d rather not run her on a wet track but I’ll wait and see what the track is like tomorrow,” Birchley said.
“She’s coming along well and won a barrier trial at Eagle Farm last month.”
Eagle Farm is currently rated dead with some showers forecast.
Birchley predicted after the filly’s Eagle Farm victory that she had the potential to win a black-type feature as a three-year-old.
He is now giving her the opportunity to fulfil her ability during the upcoming Brisbane winter carnival.
“I’ve always had a good opinion of her and she should develop into a black-type contender,” he said.
“At this stage she’s heading towards the Mick Dittman Plate and then the Gold Coast Guineas.”
The Mick Dittman Plate (1000m) will be run at Eagle Farm on April 23 with the Group Three Gold Coast Guineas (1200m) on May 7.
Birchley has no concerns with Liesele’s fitness level ahead of her return but would have preferred a better barrier.
“From the draw we’ll have to drag her back and let her run home,” Birchley said.
“She’s fit enough to win and she can sprint well fresh.”
Birchley has a strong hand with another winter hopeful Favela Star who is also on the comeback trail in the skyracing.tv Handicap (1000m).
Favela Star completed a hat-trick of wins on heavy ground at Eagle Farm in August and is yet to miss a place in five starts.
“He’s going well but he might be short of a run,” Birchley said.
“He’ll need to lift a level for the winter and we’re chasing prizemoney to get him into some of the better races.”