The Magic Millions horse sales are in full swing on the Gold Coast, with trainers and breeders rubbing shoulders with extremely wealthy and not-so-wealthy owners striving to buy the next champion of the Australian turf.
The 11-day carnival is a must attend for any turf enthusiast. The stylish dress wear and millenery associated with Melbourne and Sydney carnivals is nowhere to be seen on the Coast. This breathtaking carnival is a kaleidoscope of glitz, glamour and excitement — dominated by diamante-studded, barely-there dresses and a dazzling array of high-heeled footwear for the ladies, while chino shorts and boat shoes are a must for the gents.
First held in 1986, the Magic Millions Sales are rapidly catching up to the Inglis Easter Yearling Sales as the pre-eminent supplier of quality horse flesh in this country. Take a look back at the recent Melbourne Spring Carnival and think of the dominant Group 1 performers: Atlantic Jewel, Zoustar, Boban, Happy Trails and Buffering are all graduates of the Magic Millions sales ring.
The excitement is ever present for those lucky enough to attend the sales complex on the Gold Coast. It’s a great mix of your average punter and cashed-up owner, both relaxing under the shade of the rear annex with beer in hand, carefully casting their eye over millions of dollars of horse flesh as they are paraded around by proud handlers, preparing to enter the sales ring and hopefully bring their owners/breeders a healthy return on their investment and hard work.
This Saturday, the attention will shift from the sales ring to the Gold Coast Turf Club where the rich 2YO and 3YO Classic races will be held. With a staggering $4.7 million in prizemoney on offer, solely to Magic Millions graduates, a capacity crowd will brave the heat and humidity and descend on Gold Coast Racecourse for the richest provincial meeting in the country.
The $2 million 2YO Classic is undoubtedly the feature and many recent winners have gone onto win G1 races throughout their careers. They include Phelan Ready, Dance Hero, Regimental Gal, Lovely Jubly, Excellerator, Assertive Lad, Testa Rossa, General Nediym, St Jude and Snippets.
Horses trained outside NSW and Queensland do not have great records in the race. In the last 20 years, more than 50 horses have started that were trained further south for only four winners. Gai Waterhouse has won it four times with Driefontein, Dance Hero, Excellerator and Assertive Lad.
Since Brave Warrior ran down St Covet in 1994, the spoils have been shared evenly between the different sexes with 10 wins apiece. Remarkably, in the last eight runnings of the race, fillies have saluted seven times including running 1,2,3,4 in 2013 and trifectas in 2012, 2011 and 2010. Phelan Ready is actually the only male to place since 2007.
One other important aspect to consider when doing the form for this race is the barriers as they play a very key role from the 1200m start. In the past decade, only Mirror Mirror in 2006 drew double figures. In fact, she and Phelan Ready are the only two to draw outside gate 7 and they both came from near the rear to win.
In our usual column posted on Friday, we will look to provide some more insight into the Magic Millions and hopefully a couple of selections to follow on the big day.
Wednesday is a quiet day for those coming off good trials although we have previewed the one race at Ascot in which we think Gingerman can run a nice race at an each way quote.
WEDNESDAY: ASCOT Race 3 – 3yo+ Handicap (1000m)
A small field comes together for this event but that doesn’t make it any less interesting. Half of the field is first up and have trialled in the last two weeks. Three of the five horses impressed up in their trials and we are keen to follow them this preparation.
There are two interesting runners who have been acquired from interstate making their WA debuts in this race today. They are 2 FRUPPER and 7 LIVORNO EXPRESS. 2 FRUPPER comes off a recent preparation that consisted of three starts for three wins in Victoria and the Northern Territory. His trial was quite good, although with the big weight we would like to see how he adjusts to race conditions before we consider him a betting proposition.
The Simon Miller-acquisition 7 LIVORNO EXPRESS comes to WA with some reasonable Victorian provincial and country form having been in the money at six of her nine starts to date. She finished on front of 3 GINGERMAN in her trial but the trial of the latter was a touch more impressive. Having said that, the stable has put the blinkers on her for her first up run and this could lead to some improvement. We are definitely not discounting her as a winning chance.
3 GINGERMAN returned with a nice soft trial which indicates he is in great condition for a strong performance first up here. His form last preparation was around the mark for this kind of race and from the middle barrier he should be able to settle midfield. He has won first up over the 1000m in the past, and provided he gets clear running in the straight he will be finishing strongly.
4 PURE GLAMOUR has a very strong first up record having won three times from four attempts. She is drawn to get the ideal run from barrier two, camped on the leaders back, similar to her first-up run last preparation. That day she needed every bit of the 1200m to overhaul Grand Crusade. Whilst that class is definitely enough to beat this field, the one caveat we have is that she has never won under 1100m and the 1000m might just bet a touch sharp for her.
The last of the recent trial performances comes from 10 ORALETTO. She just coasted through her trial and looked impressive, but be wary that she hasn’t previously won when first-up.
The one who is a huge chance from outside the trials is 1 KARRATHA CROSSING. Her run two starts back in listed grade was absolutely enormous when being stuck three and four deep most of the trip she fought on gamely to only be beaten one length behind Rouge Dior. The following start over the 1400m she raced flat and can be forgiven for this due to the gut buster she had previously. She has been freshened up for a month and with the claim for the apprentice is weighted beautifully for this.
Based on her strong first up form, 4 PURE GLAMOUR looks hard to beat. Given she is the likely favourite, we are going to risk her due to the fact she has never won over the 1000m trip. 3 GINGERMAN looks set to run a big race fresh and could be a decent each way price, and the top weight 1 KARRATHA CROSSING is well in at the weights with the claim for Conroy.
THE TRIAL FILES’ SELECTIONS
FOR ASCOT (WEDNESDAY)
Race 3 — 3 GINGERMAN (each way)
Race 3 — Boxed quinella (1,3,4)