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Sista Act gives Birchley surprise win in QTIS Three-Year-Old Jewel

By Glenn Davis

Trainer Liam Birchley cast aside his interstate woes when under-rated filly Sista Act won the QTIS-Three-Year-Old Jewel at the Gold Coast on Saturday.

Ridden by Jim Byrne, Sista Act showed brilliant speed to lead all the way for a commanding 1-3/4 length win over Skate To Paris.

Paradis Imperial was a further short half head away, third.

Sista Act has now won four of her 13 starts but went into the race off a failure at Warwick at her previous start.

Birchley has been one of Queensland’s leading trainers for the past decade but is embroiled in the Aquanita scandal in Melbourne.

He is not allowed to nominate horses in Victoria while NSW stewards also barred him pending a further stewards’ inquiry.

Birchley has a good opinion of Sista Act but believes she can be a funny horse to ride.

“I told Jim (Byrne) to get out and lead if he could as she’s hard to run down if she gets to the front,” Birchley said.

Birchley has no plans to target the winter carnival races with Sista Act and is likely to give her a break before targeting races at the end of the winter.

Meanwhile Gold Coast trainer Michael Costa continued his good recent form when Epic Rant claimed the QTIS Three-Year-Old Handicap (1800m).

Ridden by Michael Cahill, Epic Rant unleashed a powerful finish from last on the home turn to down Golden Command by a short neck.

Naked finished third, a further 1-1/4 lengths away.

Costa, who trainer two winners at Ipswich and the Gold Coast last week, is rapidly making a name for himself since moving to the Gold Coast from Sydney’s Warwick Farm two years ago.

He was the original trainer of Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign before making the hard decision to relocate to the Gold Coast.

Epic Rant was Costa’s 10th metropolitan winner this season and he now has the best strike rate of any of his rivals.

Costa’s win was also his third victory for the month and took him to 15th place in the Brisbane trainers’ premiership.

Racing Queensland webnews       March 17