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Hectic early tempo made Magic Millions 2YO Classic a very testing race

Ken Boman | 19.01.2018

While the overall time for the $2,000,000 Magic Millions 2YO Classic (RL, 1200m) was the second slowest of the four races over that distance at Saturday’s Gold Coast meeting, the hectic early tempo made it a very testing race, adding to the merit of the subsequent form.

Much has already been written about jockey Matthew McGillivray’s cavalier attempt to abruptly take the speedy Ef Troop (Spirit Of Boom) across the field from his wide barrier (13) to lead, causing severe interference to a number of runners which resulted in a one month suspension for careless riding.

When Ef Troop did find the lead, McGillivray let the colt run along at a breakneck pace that resulted in brilliant early sectional times, as recorded by Daily Sectionals.

An analysis of those times revealed that Ef Troop ran 22.85 (first 400m), 33.39 (first 600m), 44.71 (first 800m) and 56.87 (first 1000m) – times more likely to returned by high class mature sprinters.

In fact, in the following race, the Magic Millions Snippets (1200m), won by the Group One winning five-year-old mare Viddora (I Am Invincible), the early sectionals for those distances were almost a second slower although the full journey was 0.48 seconds faster.

The leaders in that race clocked 23.81 (first 400m), 34.67 (first 600m), 45.55 (first 800m) with the first 1000 metres in 57.51, which demonstrates the value of the performances of the on-pace runners in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic, Sunlight (Zoustar) and Ef Troop.

Under the circumstances, the previously unbeaten Ef Troop did well in holding on for (3.1 lengths) fourth after holding a clear lead until halfway down the straight.

And the winner Sunlight showed her quality as she chased the tearaway leader, went to the front at the 100 metres before going on to score decisively by two lengths from the late-closing pair Fullazaboot (Sepoy) and Outback Barbie (Zoustar) who were both suited by racing well off the pace and back in the field.

Sunlight has raced four times and is unbeaten in three Queensland starts this preparation and the talented young filly will now head to Sydney where she holds strong claims in the Golden Slipper Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) to be run at Rosehill on 24 March.

The aforementioned Viddora also deserves acknowledgement.

While highlighting the fact that the early tempo was slower than recorded in the juvenile feature, Viddora did return the fastest closing sectionals of any of the winners on the nine-race card in coming from well back in the field to score.

Regular rider Joe Bowditch rode her quietly as usual and after racing back in ninth place, Viddora made a wide move rounding the home turn. She swept to the front at the 100 metres and then went on to win easily by just over two lengths.

Viddora was clocked to run her final 800 metres in 44.06, last 600 metres in 33.26, last 400 metres in 22.50 with her final 100 metres in 11.18.

The South Australian-trained mare Viddora is also well-travelled.

She followed good performances in her home state last preparation with sound efforts in Victoria before taking out the Winterbottom Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) in Perth on 2 December and then went to the Gold Coast to record a particularly good victory.

In the Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (RL, 1400m) the Greg Hickman-trained colt Pierata (Pierro) showed he is capable of advancing to even greater heights in taking out the $2,000,000 race in impressive fashion.

He was quickly away before settling nicely for Corey Brown in fifth place on the rails from his inside barrier behind a very smart tempo that saw the leaders run the first 800 metres in 45.78 and first 1000 metres in 57.14.

Pierata was held up briefly for clear running on turning for home before Brown steered him between runners at the 200 metres. The colt then dashed to the front shortly afterwards and went on to win comfortably by a length and a half.

The runner-up, the Bjorn Baker-trained colt Goodfella, fought on particularly well for second after being handy most of the way while the attractive Chris Waller-trained colt Calculated (So You Think) impressed in taking third despite a wide trip.

Time for the full journey was a quick 1:21.02 in a truly run race that should prove a good form reference.

However, the progressive Matthew Dunn-trained four-year-old Care To Think (So You Think), who won the only other race on the programme over 1400 metres, recorded the even quicker time of 1:20.72.

Care To Think is now the winner of his last five races in succession, his latest in three Queensland starts this preparation and he stepped up in class to win impressively, despite being trapped wide from his outside barrier in the 16-horse field.

In addition, Care To Think was timed to run his final 1000 metres in a fast 56.74, his last 800 metres in 45.72, last 600 metres in 34.52 with his final 400 metres in 23.54.

Now the winner of six of his 11 starts (with three placings), Care To Think is a lightly raced gelding who looks set to progress to even better things.

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