Fri, Jan 10, 4:01pm by Daryl Curnow
What: Jeep $2 million 2YO Magic Millions
Where: Gold Coast, Queensland.
When: Saturday, January 10. Race scheduled for 4:35pm.
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The 16-horse field with four emergencies will compete for one of Australia’s richest races and become the horse on everyone’s lips.
Top quality horses have won this race in the past including Snippets, General Nediym, Testa Rossa and Military Rose. The race has since become a part of an ever-growing carnival which features the Magic Million horse sales and numerous parties hosted around the course. Here at www.australiangambling.lv we’ll provide a full race guide with information about the favourites and the outsiders with a chance to snatch the big money.
One trainer who didn’t have to pay big money to ensure his horse got a start was Stuart Kendrick, who paid only $10,000 for his unbeaten colt Celestial Dragon. The surprise package two-year-old has already won over $110,000 and Kendrick is now getting a reputation for turning cheap horses into top-liners. The Sunshine Coast trainer purchased Doubtfilly, Avaladyluck, Sept De Coeurs and Celestial Dragon for only $50,000 and together they have earned in excess of $1 million.
“I do a fair bit of homework on them and then try buy a horse I think can be a Group 1 winner,” said Kendrick. “You do need patience and sometimes just a bit of good luck as well.”
Looking to make it three consecutive wins is top jockey Tommy Berry. Berry rode Karuta Queen to victory in 2011 before teaming up with the Gai Waterhouse-trained Driefontein last year. Berry partner Waterhouse again with the Stratum filly Echo Gal, who won impressively on debut before suffering thumps last time out at Doomben.
“Mark Newnham rode her last Saturday and he said to forget about that run, on her work she is almost unbeatable,” said Berry.
Berry will have to overcome drawing barrier 15, whilst his brother Nathan has drawn barrier 3 with the $3.80 favourite Unencumbered. “I wasn’t worried where I drew because he is so versatile, so easy to do anything with,” said Tommy Berry.
Unencumbered – The Bjorn Baker-trained colt has impressed in five runs to date, with his only blemish coming at Rosehill second-up. The son of Testa Rossa is the firm favourite following a win in the Group 3 B J McLachlan Stakes at Doomben. He also won an important lead-up race in the $200,000 Wyong Magic Millions where he put away a nice but small field of six runners. He has yet to race at the Gold Coast but he has drawn well and he has the most experience in the field. Baker feels confident about his chance at winning his first Magic Millions Classic. “He looked to go very well in his hit out and we’re on track for Saturday,” he said. “While I haven’t had a runner in the race I think he is the right sort of horse to bring to the Magic Millions.”
Celestial Dragon – As we mentioned earlier, this colt was purchased on the cheap and he has a great chance to earn the big pay day here. The Hidden Dragon colt is a perfect two from two and he has shown he can handle all track conditions, just in case the weather throws something into the mix. The biggest asset he possesses is his speed out of the gates. In both runs to date he has led the field into the straight and he has the toughness to hold off all challengers. This race is obviously tougher to win, but you can’t knock winning form. “I can’t get him any better and it’s up to the horse on race day,” said trainer Stuart Kendrick.
Oakleigh Girl – This smart filly was far too good for the opposition in her first two runs, but she went out about too hard last time out. The Snitzel two-year-old showed extreme early pace in both winning runs, but they came over 1000 metres. She then stepped up in distance and was left flat-footed at the 200 metre mark. Her trainer Danny Bougoure relates his filly to another top horse he used to train. “She has a lot of similarities to Falvelon. Both very casual and tough. I think she will be tough to beat,” he said.” If Oakleigh Girl wins, not only will she pick up the winners prize of $1.4 million, but also a $300,000 women in racing bonus.
Stroak – The promising filly will have to overcome barrier 14, but she has the ability to get back in races and run home strongly. She is by Real Saga whose progeny is winning races all over Queensland and Stroak looks a top liner. The Bryan Guy-trained runner won her first two in very convincing fashion before running second behind Unencumbered at Doomben. She opened at $11 but has since drifted out to $12, most probably because of her wide barrier draw.
Cyclone – Gai Waterhouse has a great chance at going back-to-back in this race and what a way it would be for Cyclone to break his maiden. The Sebring colt was third on debut behind Unencumbered and again ran third at Rosehill before being promoted to second after suffering interference in the straight. He looks to have potential and he has drawn the ace barrier which will suit his front running style.
Echo Gal – As previously mentioned, Gai Waterhouses’s second runner has drawn the car park which has skyrocketed her odds to $19. She was poor last start but it will pay to forgive that run as she suffered from thumps during the run. Her debut win at Warwick Farm was a better indication of her ability as she put away a smart field by over three lengths. Her jockey Tommy Berry is confident about her chances as he looks to make it a race winning treble.
Geromayo – The Mick Price-trained colt is a rare Victorian entrant who looks to go one better than his performance for second behind Unencumbered at Wyong. The Charge Forward colt was fifth on debut in a stakes race at Caulfield before coming second behind fellow race-rival Sheer Style at Ballarat. He will improve with the extra distance and his chances appear bright at good odds of $14.
I Am The General – Another Victorian who won impressively at Flemington last start. He has drawn an unfavoured barrier but he sped to the lead to win last time out so he’ll likely adopt similar tactics. The Shane Nichols-trained colt opened at $11 but has since drifted all the way out to $19. If he gets a nice position in the running, he’s a good outside chance to place.
Unencumbered has the form on the board and he will be very tough to beat from a good draw. His trainer Bjorn Baker is getting better at training Group winners and he’s due a massive win. He’s a colt who has the ability to either be ridden forward or back, so no matter where he sits in the field, he’ll have his say in the straight.
Gai Waterhouse knows how to train youngsters and she prefers her runners to lead. That will be a big assist here and it’s best to stay out of trouble over the sprint distance. Blake Shinn is riding well and he’s drawn barrier 1 so he won’t have to use as much energy early as the other runners.
Geromayo brings in solid form and he’s a good chance at the place money. He was close to winning last time out and the extra 100 metres will only help him for this. Victorians don’t have a good track record in this race but he’s good enough to buck the trend.
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