Birchley happy with Saga Of The Storm

By Mark Oberhardt

BRISBANE, Dec 29 AAP – The decision to miss a Magic Millions lead-up race with Saga Of The Storm sits comfortably with trainer Liam Birchley.

Saga Of The Storm was an impressive winner at Doomben on December 20 and Birchley had intended to back the filly up in the B J McLachlan Stakes on Saturday to give her a look at the Gold Coast track before the $2 million Magic Millions Classic on January 10.

The threat of a wet surface prompted him to scratch Saga Of The Storm and as it turned out, heavy rain did come before Mishani Honcho beat the odds-on favourite Wicked Intent.

“I am not convinced she handles soft going and I didn’t want to knock her around,” Birchley said.

“At this stage she will go straight into the Millions with the blinkers on.”

Saga of the Storm remains a $18 chance for the Classic as is her stablemate Pepperano.

“Pepperano will have her final Classic lead up in a two-year-old race at Toowoomba on Wednesday night,” Birchley said.

Birchley has had several runners in the Classic field but has yet to win the summer’s richest race.

Paprika was an unlucky second to Phelan Ready in 2009 while Ruby Soho was a good third earlier this year.

Birchley is having one his best seasons with 40 overall winners of more than $1.1 million this season.

He is a clear third on the Queensland metropolitan premiership with 24 winners after Goldslick won at the Gold Coast on Saturday.

“I have a very good staff and two of the best track work riders around in Allan Russell and Aidan Holt. They have to take a lot of the credit,” Birchley said.

Meanwhile, Wicked intent holds favouritism for the Classic at $5.50 ahead of stablemates Claudia Jean and Miss Idyllic who are prepared by David Hayes and Tom Dabernig.


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