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Birchley to have a say in Victory Stakes

Trainer Liam Birchley says Havasay is a better chance in the Victory Stakes than his odds suggest.

Trainer Liam Birchley believes Havasay is racing a lot better than it appears on paper and can make a lie of his long price at Eagle Farm.

Birchley realises Havasay has a big task against star sprinter Redzel in the weight-for-age Group Two Victory Stakes (1200m).

Racing Queensland handicapper Nathan Bourke confirmed the task facing Redzel’s seven rivals when he said if the Victory Stakes had been a handicap he would have given the dual Everest winner 69.5kg which meant he would be giving horses such as Havasay 15kg.

“Under the weight-for-age conditions we meet Redzel at the same weights and he does look extremely hard to beat,” Birchley said.

“But the Victory Stakes has thrown up some big upsets over the years.

“Havasay is going better than it appears on paper and he should give some cheek at his big odds.”

Havasay won the Listed Ramornie Handicap at Grafton last July beating Belflyer and Tyzone who have both gone on to win feature races.

He then struggled in the Melbourne in the spring and had no luck in a short Queensland summer campaign which ended with an eighth in the Magic Millions QTIS race.

Havasay returned from a spell with another eighth behind From Within in a 1000m-race at Eagle Farm two weeks ago.

“I know it doesn’t look it but his rating out of that race was just off his effort in the Ramornie. I have to be happy with that,” Birchley said.

“He only got beaten three lengths in the Magic Millions race and while I am not saying he would have won he was one of a few who didn’t have much luck.

“There is no doubt his best distance is 1200 metres as six of his seven wins have been at that trip.”

Birchley said he wished Havasay had drawn better than barrier eight on Saturday.

“There looks to be plenty of early speed so hopefully we can get some cover and run on,” he said.

Birchley says he wants to get a clear picture where Havasay stands for the winter.

“I will nominate him in everything and provided he continues to please me he can run in the Doomben 10,000 on Saturday fortnight,” he said.

Matthew McGillivray will ride Havasay while Dale Smith returns from suspension to partner recent impressive trial winner Stella Victoria.

The mare showed she had returned from a break in fine fettle when she beat Victory Stakes rival I’m A Rippa by six lengths in a Deagon trial.

Trainer Robert Heathcote is hoping Stella Victoria will be one of the winter mainstays for his new training partnership with Chris Anderson which starts next week.

Redzel is the TAB’s $1.60 favourite to get back to winning form with Stella Victoria at $15 and Havasay a $71 chance.

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