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Pop ‘N’ Scotch finds distance in Xmas Cup

Pop ‘N’ Scotch has been back in Queensland for more than five months but a lack of options in his home state has prompted trainer Liam Birchley to send the unpredictable stayer to Sydney.

Birchley admits Pop ‘N’ Scotch is a long shot to win Saturday’s Listed Christmas Cup (2400m) at Randwick.

But the Eagle Farm trainer is hoping the horse can show shades of the form which has brought three seconds in the Queensland Cup.

“There’s no races up here past 2200 metres,” Birchley said.

A lack of options was also the catalyst for the Victorian interlude in Pop ‘N’ Scotch’s career.

While Eagle Farm was being redeveloped Birchley took Pop ‘N’ Scotch to Victoria late last year where he performed well in a strong form race at Geelong and after another three starts he stayed for an unsuccessful stint with Darren Weir.

He returned to Birchley earlier in the year for an agonising third defeat in a Queensland Cup and was sent to the paddock for a spell.

Birchley said his second-up run in his current preparation over 2200m was encouraging but a subsequent disappointment over the same distance at Eagle Farm on December 3 showed signs he needed further.

“Some days with him you don’t know what you’re going to get unfortunately,” Birchley said.

Trainer Peter Robl has veteran Iggi Pop in the race after a gutsy third in the Listed ATC Cup (2000m) at Rosehill on December 3.

“He was terrific. All his runs this time in have been great,” Robl said.

The eight-year-old hasn’t won since the Queensland Cup in July 2014, when he consigned Pop ‘N’ Scotch to one of his three runner-up finishes in the race.

Robl said the 2400m and getting in with the minimum 54kgs would work in Iggi Pop’s favour.

“He’s going as good as he’s gone while I’ve had him,” Robl said.

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