Birchley confident of first J J Atkins win

Liam Birchley will have two chances to achieve a career ambition when Blueberry Hill and Pepperano contest the Group One JJ Atkins.

Birchley won New Zealand’s richest two-year-old race, the Karaka Million, earlier this year but he would dearly love to win Queensland’s only Group One race for juveniles.

“The JJ Atkins has been a race I have always wanted to win,” Birchley said.

“I haven’t had a lot of runners in the Atkins because many of my horses are aimed at sales-related races which are run earlier in the year,” he said.

Blueberry Hill was an unlucky second in the Group Two BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes two weeks ago and Birchley is confident she can complete an outstanding two-year-old season for him at Doomben on Saturday.

Blueberry Hill won her first start in February and has added two more victories to her record, including the Group Two Champagne Classic.

She is a half-sister to Headwater Country, a three-year-old who has won five races between 900m and 1200m for Birchley.

Birchley also has Magic Millions 2YO Classic placegetter Pepperano in the field and he has hopes of a quinella.

“Blueberry Hill has a better turn of foot than Pepperano but she will be strong at the end of the 1600 metres,” Birchley said.

Jockey Larry Cassidy is growing in confidence he can win another Atkins with Blueberry Hill.

“I have no doubt if you swapped the barriers with the winner (Look To The Stars) in the Sires’, Blueberry Hill would have won,” he said.

Cassidy won the Atkins in 1995 on Ravarda for trainer Bryan Guy.


Story courtesy Mark Oberhardt


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