McGillivray keeps plum Brisbane Hcp ride

Crack Me Up wins the Recognition Stakes.
Matt McGillivray has kept the ride on Recognition Stakes winner Crack Me in the Brisbane Handicap.

In-form Matt McGillivray will retain the ride on Crack Me Up in the Listed Brisbane Handicap but Jason Collett is likely to be aboard when the gelding goes to Sydney.

McGillivray has been doing a lot of riding for trainer Liam Birchley with the pair combining for nine winners this season.

He won his first stakes race on Crack Me Up in the Recognition Stakes (1350m) at Doomben two weeks ago.

Saturday’s Brisbane Handicap will be Crack Me Up’s final hit-out before the Group Two Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on December 16.

Crack Me Up is the $6.50 second favourite for the Villiers in most pre-post markets.

McGillivray has commitments in Brisbane on Villiers day including the current Magic Millions Classic second favourite Ef Troop in the Phelan Ready Stakes.

Group One-winning jockey Damian Browne won a stakes race on Crack Me Up – the Sunshine Coast Guineas – before the gelding went for a spell.

Browne also rode Crack Me Up when he was second first-up with 63kg.

McGillivray got the ride in the Recognition Stakes when Browne couldn’t make the 54kg.

Birchley was expected to recall Browne for Crack Me Up when he got 56.5kg for Saturday’s race.

“I would have used Damian but he wasn’t keen to go to Sydney,” Birchley said.

“Matt deserves a good ride so I thought he might as well keep the ride for this week.”

“But at this stage we plan to get Jason Collet for the Villiers.”

Birchley has had several runners in the Villiers with the best result when Rags To Riches was third in a three-way photo in 2008.

“The Brisbane Handicap will be a good guide for us. It is a strong field and it will give us a very good idea where we stand,” Birchley said.

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