Liam Birchley has confirmed that he will be chasing New Zealand’s richest race with a Hallmark Stud graduate.
The Queenslander is putting the finishing touches on Hardline ahead of the Listed Karaka Million at Ellerslie on January 25.
Birchley has already won the feature with Sister Havana in 2010 and produced Sarge In Charge to run second the previous year.
Hardline was a debut winner at Doomben last month and Birchley was unperturbed by the juvenile’s defeat when seventh on Saturday at Rosehill where he missed the start from the outside gate.
“He’s definitely on his way over,” he said. “The way it worked out he couldn’t win – they had to be in the lead or right there.
“The bias was against him and nothing could make ground out wide. His run was better than I first thought it was and he’ll fly out on the night of the 13th.”
Purchased by Birchley out of Hallmark draft to Karaka earlier this year for $130,000, Hardline is a son of Showcasing and the dual winner Midnight Breaker.
The Housebuster mare is a half-sister to Perlin (Gr 1 Underwood Stakes, Gr 1 Doomben Cup) and Almodovar (Listed Galilee Final).
“When I did see him I thought he was the best colt in the sale – he was a stand out,” Birchley said.
Hardline has been ridden in both his starts by Damian Browne and the former Kiwi jockey will have the mount again at Ellerslie later this month.