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Birchley looking to bag third Million

Neptune’s Spear (NZ) (Super Easy {NZ}) is bidding to give Liam Birchley a third Karaka Million title and the Eagle Farm trainer has been thrilled with how the colt has settled into his new environment.

The youngster will get a sight of Ellerslie with a gallop there on Monday morning.

“He travelled over well and has thrived since he has been here,” Birchley said.

“The chance to have a look around Ellerslie is a real bonus and one we are keen to take.

“He can have a good hit-out there which will top him off nicely for the race.”

Neptune's Spear as a yearling

Birchley has previously won the Karaka Million with Sister Havana (NZ) (General Nediym) in 2010 and Hardline(NZ) (Showcasing {NZ}) in 2015 while Sarge In Charge (NZ) (Golan {IRE}) was runner-up in 2009.

“We have had some luck in the race and we’re always on the look-out for horses we think will suit,” he said.

“Neptune’s Spear is one we identified early on and then we have just tried to provide an opportunity for him to earn his way into the field.”

A debut victory and a runner-up finish at his only other appearance safely nailed down a berth.

Birchley purchased Neptune’s Spear for NZ$140,000 out of the draft of Hallmark Stud where Super Easy is resident.

The stallion will be represented at the upcoming New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale with six individuals in Book 2 and a further two in Book 3.

Clark on exciting colt

Gary Portelli has booked Tim Clark to ride Time To Reign (Time For War) when the colt steps out at the Warwick Farm trials on Tuesday.

He has the youngster on a path toward the G1 Golden Slipper S., the 2-year-old feature he won with his half-sister She Will Reign (Manhattan Rain) in 2017.

Portelli has also confirmed that Clark will partner Time To Reign, who is unbeaten in two appearances, when he resumes at Warwick Farm on February 9.

Time To Reign

“Tim Clark has the ride for the trial and the Lonhro Plate,” Portelli said.

“He was originally going to trial at Randwick on Thursday because these trials were not programmed, but it's good he will be able to do this on his home track which is where he will be running first-up.

“The colt has done well after a break and hopefully wins first-up and then goes to the Silver Slipper where he is likely to meet Tassort and then we will see how good he is.”

Godolphin colt Tassort (Brazen Beau) is the Slipper favourite ahead of his stablemate Exhilarates (Snitzel), the winner of the Magic Millions 2YO Classic.

No decision on Millennium start

A start in the $2 million Inglis Millennium is in the balance for Vincere Volare (I Am Invincible).

She will have a jump-out at Doomben on January 29 and trainer Tony Gollan will then make a call on her participation.

“I think she would be a good chance in the race, but it is a bit soon for her. She did win at 1200 metres but this would be better company,” Gollan said.

“I am not saying she won't start, but she would need to show me something in the jump-out to be a sure starter.”

Vincere Volare was a $300,000 buy at the Inglis Sydney Easter Sale for Aquis Farm and Gollan and is out of a half-sister to the G2 Silver Slipper winner Amelia’s Dream (Redoute’s Choice).

“I have to look to her future and her overall autumn chances. I have an opinion of her, but the $2 million in prize money is certainly tempting,” Gollan said.

Vincere Volare was a runaway winner on debut at Doomben in November.

First for stallion

Canford Cliffs (IRE) sired his first winner in New Zealand when Vee Cece was successful at Te Rapa.

Trained by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman for Scott Richardson, she sat in behind the pace and once into the clear she charged away under Matt Cameron to open her account at her third appearance.

“She came home well in both of her first two runs and as long as she jumped well from the inside barrier we thought she’d be hard to beat,” Baker said.

A $30,000 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale buy, Vee Cece is a half-sister to three winners and is out of Vereza (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}). She is from a half-sister to the G1 Golden Slipper S. winner Burst (Marauding {NZ}).

A multiple Group 1 winner, Canford Cliffs now stands at Ridgemont Highlands in South Africa.

Vee Cece’s stablemate Nordic (NZ) (Ocean Park {NZ}) finished runner-up and her trainers have also formed a good opinion of the 3-year-old.

He is a half-brother to Suavito (NZ) (Thorn Park), winner of the G1 Futurity S. and the G1 Orr S., and to the G3 Swap H. winner Sultan Of Swing (NZ) (Bachelor Duke {IRE}).

Nordic is raced by a syndicate that includes breeder JML Bloodstock, Waikato Stud, Jamieson Park and Jomara Bloodstock.

All’s well that ends well

Clouds and silver linings came into play at Te Rapa for Graeme Hughes.

The Cambridge horseman owns and trains the 3-year-old filly Cenghar (NZ) (Dalghar), who won the Cambridge Stud Main on debut following a trial success.

“I bought her for somebody else, but that didn’t go through so it’s pretty cool now,” he said.

Cenghar was a bargain buy and cost just NZ$1750 when offered by Brighthill Farm at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Weanling Sale.

A half-sister to the multiple winner All Black Magic (NZ) (Perfectly Ready), the filly is from the family of the G2 Queen Charlotte H. winner Cato Double (USA) (Nodouble {USA}) and the Group 1 placegetter Ngaio (NZ) (Nassipour {USA}).

Mixed fortunes for apprentice

Baylee Nothdurft hast posted his first metropolitan double, but also copped a big fine and a suspension.

The Queensland apprentice was successful aboard Takings (Show A Heart) and Mishani Electra (Ad Valorem {USA}) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Queensland apprentice, Baylee Nothdurft

He was also $1000 lighter in the pocket after he pleaded guilty to not riding his mount Mishani Hustler (Exceedingly Good) to the line in the 3-year-old handicap.

The fine follows a suspension for Nothdurft from Wednesday's Doomben meeting after he pleaded guilty to causing interference on Kathmandu (Helmet) to Oddfellow (NZ) (Reliable Man {GB}) 400 metres from home.

He was suspended for 12 days, to expire at midnight on Thursday, January 31.

Grylls back in style

Craig Grylls has ridden his first winner at home since returning from a successful stint in Singapore.

He guided the Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott-trained Ocean Go (NZ) (Ocean Park {NZ}) to victory in the Bell Neuhauser & Matthews Optometrist’s Maiden at Te Rapa.

“That was a really good performance to come from so far back with a sustained finish,” Scott said.

“It’s fantastic for Craig to get the monkey off his back and it’s great to have him back.

“He’s a really hard-working guy and his fitness levels are very good.”

The Group 1 winning rider collected 44 wins in Singapore where his wife Milou worked as foreman for expatriate New Zealand trainer Donna Logan.