Tally-Ho graduate White Birch jumped into the Classic reckoning on Sunday with an impressive success in the Group 3 Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown.
Trained by John Joseph Murphy, the Ulysses colt had gone into many notebooks when the six-length winner of his maiden at Dundalk in November to prompt his sale to Chantal Regalado-Gonzalez. With several highly regarded colts in the line up on Sunday, White Birch was sent off at a generous 22/1 but proved that all wrong, swooping from the back of the field under Shane Foley to take it up with Up And Under before outbattling that rival for a cosy score.
George Murphy, son and assistant trainer, said:“Absolutely delighted with that. He relaxed lovely early on and quickened up really well. He got a good bump about a furlong down but he’s a very honest horse and stayed lengthening the whole way to the line.
“We are delighted with that and he could be very good. He’s done what we always thought he could do.
“We’ll have a chat now with the owners and make a decision on where we are going to go. We said we would learn a lot today going up to a mile and a quarter on this ground and it seemed no issue to him.
“He’s hasn’t any Classic entries but he could get some yet! We’ll see how he comes out of this and make a plan from there."
White Birch was purchased by us as a foal from his breeder Cheveley Park Stud. He was reoffered as part of our draft at Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Sale and later changed hands to his trainer.
White Birch isn't the only Classic hopeful to have emerged out of that Book 2 draft; also on offer in the Right Yard that week was the unbeaten Horris Hill Stakes winner Knight (Mehmas) and Group 2-placed Indestructible (Kodiac), both of whom hold entries in the 2,000 Guineas.