While sharing the same Rosehill Gardens race card with several more highly-rated races this Saturday including three Group 1’s, the Group 3 Birthday Card Stakes (1200m) is shaping as one of the most well-contest events of the day.
Having returned to the track in arguably career best form this preparation, exciting mare Lilliburlero has been included in nominations for the 2014 Birthday Card Stakes.
Securing a total of four wins and three places from 13 competitive starts to date, Lilliburlero was unable to secure anything of a successful 2013 spring racing season, claiming only one win and one place and finishing well off the pace in most events.
Having taken to the spelling paddock well over summer, the talented Redoute’s Choice mare has seemingly returned a completely different horse in 2014, strolling home ahead of fellow Birthday Card Stakes nominee Recoinage in the Group 3 Triscay Stakes (1200m) first-up before running a competitive second to A Time For Julia in the Group 3 Roy Higgins Tribute (1200m) last time out.
Trainer David Payne has underlined the Group 1 Queen Of the Turf Stakes (1500m) on April 19th as the major target for Lilliburlero this preparation, and is confident of returning to the winner’s circle with the classy mare this weekend.
Finishing outside the places just twice in six races already this preparation, Recoinage has steadily built to the task at hand since finishing eighth in the Aboriginal Resources Maiden (1150m) first-up on December 14th, finishing second in the Triscay Stakes and third in the Roy Higgins Tribute most recently.
Also included in nominations for the 2014 Birthday Card Stakes is classy New Zealand-based sprinter Irish Fling, who is poised to make her first-up appearance across this ditch at Rosehill this weekend.
Claiming three wins and a place from five starts in a memorable 2013 spring preparation, Irish Fling has reached undeniable career-best form in 2014, claiming the Group 1 J&N Berkett Telegraph Handicap (1200m) first-up before finishing an unlucky fourth in the Group 3 Darley Plate (1200m) most recently.
Trainer Guy Lowry has also included the Darci Brahma mare in nominations for the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) on Saturday, and will make a final decision on which avenue to take following Wednesday’s barrier draws at Rosehill.
Trainer Peter Moody will be offered twice the chance of success in the 2014 Birthday Card Stakes, having nominated both Meliora and Plucky Belle for this weekend’s Group 3.
Meliora is yet to reach peak condition in 2014, but has proven experience throughout autumn races, having contested a strong 2013 preparation that arguably peaked with victory in the Group 2 Angus Armanasco Stakes (1400m) on February 23rd.
Yet to feature on track competitively in 2014, Moody is arguably offered his best chance of success in the Birthday Card Stakes with talented five-year-old Plucky Belle, who most notably followed up a strong second in the Group 3 The Nivison (1200m) with a resounding win in the Group 3 Lavazza Short Black (1400m) on Melbourne Cup day.
A total of 18 horses have nominated for an appearance in the 2014 Birthday Card Stakes, with a final field and barrier draw due to be released on Wednesday morning.
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2014 Birthday Card Stakes Nominations
|2||ANGEL BEE (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||82|
|3||AVOID LIGHTNING||Les Bridge||97|
|4||BLACK MAGIC||Bruce Brown||93|
|5||BOUND FOR EARTH||John O’Shea||91|
|6||CALIFORNIA STORM||Darren Smith||80|
|7||HOLY DELUSIONS||Chris Waller||76|
|8||IRISH FLING (NZ)||Guy Lowry||102|
|9||JAZZ SONG||Mick Price||80|
|11||MELIORA||Peter G Moody||88|
|12||MISS STELLABELLE||Gai Waterhouse||97|
|14||PLUCKY BELLE||Peter G Moody||97|
|17||SINGLE STYLE (NZ)||Gary Portelli||87|
|18||VILLA SPLENDIDO||Garry White||72|