Rookie Pepperano in form for Liam Birchley as Magic Millions looms
CHRIS Munce thought rookie juvenile filly Pepperano was a “certainty” on Saturday and he proved an outstanding judge as the Frequendly bubble burst at Doomben.
Unbeaten Frequendly was backed from $1.45 into $1.35 but faded to finish third as Pepperano led all the way in her first start in the QTIS 2YO Handicap (1110m).
Trainer Liam Birchley has a proud history of producing two-year-old first-up winners and he continued the tradition as Pepperano showed her rivals a clean set of hoofs.
Munce knew Pepperano had a stack of ability and after the race said he never had any doubts she would win on Saturday.
It is onwards and upwards for Pepperano as Birchley tries to win his first Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast in January. And Munce, who has won three Magic Millions 2YO Classics, is delighted to be on board.
“She will only improve as the distances get longer and she gets a bit more experience,” Munce said.
Frequendly started at short odds and plenty of punters were expecting it to be another benefit race for Les Ross’ filly.
But she never travelled like the winner and was even beaten out of second by Patronizing.
Frequendly’s jockey Brad Stewart could only shake his head when asked why Frequendly did not fire.
Pepperano, out of an unraced mare, looks a nice type heading towards the Magic Millions.
“We will be making the Magic Millions the priority. We have just got to pick our way into that race now,” Birchley said.
“There is no better way to go into the Magic Millions than on your terms, rather than be forced to earn prizemoney and be forced to run in races you don’t want to run in.
“I’ve had plenty of goes (at the Magic Millions). I’’ve just got to hope one day we can hit the line first in it.
“This filly is bred by one of my long-term owners and she has always been really mature and big and strong.
“She has always been a terrific-winded filly. She is by Court Command and he got 1400-1600m, so we were always confident it would be no worries today.”
The Munce-Birchley combination was back in business bringing up an early double when Royal Jester won the Broncos’ Class Six Plate (1615m).
Royal Jester has been a hard horse to follow because of his get-back racing pattern but everything clicked yesterday.