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18 for Star Witness

Aim (3 g ex Vintage Strike by Smart Strike) provided Widden Stud stallion Star Witness (Starcraft) with his 18th individual stakes winner when he took out the $2 million Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (RL, 1400m) at the Gold Coast yesterday. Aim led home the Star Witness quinella, defeating Amish Boy by one and three-quarter lengths, with Away Game (Snitzel) two and a half lengths behind the winner in third. Star Witness, who has one elite-level winner to his name courtesy of Global Glamour, stands for a service fee of $22,000 at Widden. 


Eleven Eleven goes back-to-back at Millions

Eleven Eleven (4 g Fastnet Rock – Smokin’ Alice by Smoke Glacken) scored back-to-back Magic Millions wins with a determined performance in yesterday’s $1 million Magic Millions Cup (RL, 1400m) at the Gold Coast. The Greg Hickman-trained gelding benefitted from Alligator Blood’s (All Too Hard) disqualification in last year’s Magic Millions 3YO Guineas to take first place and he scored his second success at the January raceday when holding off the late challenge of Soxagon (Rocker) by a head. Discharged (Snitzel) finished a further head behind in third. The son of Fastnet Rock was purchased by Hickman for $230,000 at the 2018 Gold Coast Yearling Sale and was partnered by a delighted Nash Rawiller in yesterday’s success. “What they’ve done with this carnival is amazing, with the lead-up to it last week, it gives you a taste of what is to come and everyone gets an opportunity to enjoy the week and support racing,” Rawiller said. “He’s a lovely horse and he’s just won a million-dollar race, it’s brilliant. Greg’s done a great job with him, it’s a shame he can’t be here but he’ll be rapt. He can keep coming back for the next two or three years and pinching this great money.”


Jonker claims Magic Millions Snippets

Three years after being well fancied for the Magic Millions 2YO Classic (RL, 1200m), Jonker (Spirit Of Boom) can finally claim the title of a Magic Millions winner. Ridden by Jim Byrne, Jonker led most of the way to win the Magic Millions Snippets (1200m) by a length from Exhilarates (Snitzel), with Roheryn (Lonhro) a half-length away third. Jonker finished last of 16 having been checked in the 2YO Classic and a period in the wilderness followed, before he made his way to Tony Gollan and rediscovered winning form. The five-year-old broke the 1200-metre track record at Doomben when he won the Keith Noud Quality (Listed, 1200m) in November, prompting Gollan to target the Magic Millions Snippets. “I didn’t know what to expect with this horse when he came to me but when he broke the track record at Doomben I knew we had a really serious horse on our hands,” Gollan said. “I was so disappointed when he got beaten at his second run for us (the George Moore Stakes (Gr 3, 1200m)) but this was a real target race. There’s a real sense of fulfilment winning this race today and he’s a proper sprinter. He can go on and win a good race this year.”


Krone lands Fillies and Mares

Gollan made it a winning double 35 minutes after Jonker’s success when Krone (Eurozone) stormed home to win the $1 million Magic Millions Fillies and Mares (1300m). Ridden superbly by Ryan Maloney, $31 chance Krone weaved between runners in the straight and made a late lunge to win by a half-head from the $2.80 favourite Athiri (Lonhro), who was being hailed the winner when she hit the lead inside the final 150 metres. “I just knew this mare’s been going super all prep and I’m just so proud of her,” Gollan said. “Here today was where we were always going to try to peak her and it’s worked out perfectly.” Krone will be spelled and aimed at the Tattersall’s Tiara (Gr 1, 1400m) during the winter carnival. “She’s a winter carnival mare and that will be her swansong,” Gollan added.


Black On Gold takes out Subzero

The Chris Waller-trained Black On Gold (Sebring) landed a Magic Millions blow at his fourth attempt with a tenacious victory in yesterday’s $1 million Magic Millions Subzero (2400m) at the Gold Coast. The seven-year-old – who was runner-up in the same race last year, third in 2019 and sixth in 2018 – was aided by a patient ride from Brenton Avdulla, who latched onto $3.70 favourite Ballistic Boy (Smart Missile) in the run. Once entering the straight, the gelding showed a sharp turn of foot to defeat Parry Sound (Pierro) by a neck, with Elaborate (Excelebration) a further length behind in third. “He’s such a pleasure to ride and he responds well to me,” Avdulla said. “Chris Waller has such a knack with these horses, a lot of credit has to go to him and also to the owners, BK Racing, who do a great job and are big supporters of mine.” Black On Gold, who was purchased for $200,000 by BK Racing and Breeding at the 2015 Gold Coast Yearling Sale, has now won more than $1.5 million in prize-money and bonuses.


Newsreader delivers for connections

Newsreader (Press Statement) landed connections a handsome payday with a dominant victory in Australia’s richest maiden, the $250,000 Magic Millions Maiden Plate (1200m), at the Gold Coast yesterday. Newsreader, who was a $170,000 purchase by Champion Thoroughbreds at the 2019 Magic Millions Yearling Sale, responded impressively when Brenton Avdulla asked the three-year-old to quicken inside the final stages and she put two and a quarter lengths between herself and runner-up Lady Of Luxury (Criterion), with Hey Big Splenda (Rich Enuff) a further short-head behind in third. “Brenton got into a beautiful position just following one of the other chances, I think the biggest problem in these races is that you can sometimes get cluttered up and he was never going to be from there,” trainer John O’Shea said. “She’s a very fit filly and once she got clear she pinned her ears back and raced away, so it was good. We were happy with her but it’s all about doing things right on raceday and once she was well behaved behind the gates and down in the stalls it gave us a bit of confidence.”


First Magic Millions success for O’Brien

Paradee (Epaulette) provided Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Danny O’Brien with his first ever win on Magic Millions raceday with an impressive victory in yesterday’s $250,000 Magic Millions Quality (1800m). In a repeat performance of last Saturday’s TAB Wave (1800m) at the Gold Coast, Paradee comfortably defeated the Bjorn Baker-trained Frosty Rocks, who ran into fourth. So Dapper (So You Think) was two and three-quarters lengths behind Paradee in second, with Wapiti (Love Conquers All) a further three-quarters of a length back in third. O’Brien said Paradee, who was purchased by owner Robert Anderson for $240,000 at the 2018 Magic Millions Yearling Sale, had thrived since travelling to Queensland. “She won the big Wave race here last week and she came out of it super so we were happy enough to run her again,” O’Brien said. “The weights and measures were against her today but she’s actually won by further so she’s a mare that’s in great form and she’s really thrived with the trip up here. We didn’t give her a hard spring, she ran four times and then she’s been down to Thirteenth Beach since then and just ticking over.”


The Odyssey takes thrilling finale 

Stephanie Thornton scored the biggest win of her burgeoning career when she steered The Odyssey (Better Than Ready) to victory in yesterday’s $1 million Magic Millions QTIS Handicap (1300m), the final race at the Gold Coast. The 21-year-old delivered a textbook ride, trailing the leading pair before peeling out and dashing clear in the straight. The Kelly Schweida-trained filly defeated the fast-finishing Stuttering (Love Conquers All) by a nose, with Boomtown Lass (Spirit Of Boom) a further neck behind in second. An emotional Thornton said the horse, aboard whom she has now won several feature races, had quickly become one of her favourites. “He’s been so brilliant to me, I think I’ve won seven races on him,” Thornton said. “To be honest, I was gutted on the line because I thought I’d got beat but he’s tough and he’s got a will to win. 1300 metres sees him out so that was our biggest query today but he just wanted it too bad.”


Fabergino flies again at Flemington

Star Perth mare Fabergino (6 m Maschino – Miss Razyana by Danzero) again showed her predilection for the Flemington 1000 metres as she took out the Kensington Stakes (Listed, 1000m) to gain an entry in the Black Caviar Lightning (Gr 1, 1000m) next month. The grey made it three from three over track and distance with a comfortable one and a quarter length defeat of Sword Of Mercy (Sebring). The aptly named $3.00 favourite Pandemic (Sepoy) was a further long neck behind in third. “She loves the 1000 metres, she loves the straight and she loves Flemington,” said Tiarnna Robertson. “Hopefully if the weather permits we can tick four boxes on the day and hopefully it’ll be to suit her. She was cruising, she was doing it easily. Jordan (Childs) rides her perfectly.” Fabergino is a unique mare with her own racing style, according to Childs, who said: “It is pretty much that she finds a nice rhythm and goes fast at a high cruising speed and she’s able to sustain that as well.”


Estijaab’s brother wins impressively on debut 

Two-year-old Remarque (Snitzel) stamped himself as a bona fide Golden Slipper (Gr 1, 1200m) contender with an impressive performance on debut over 1100 metres at Rosehill. Following two encouraging trial wins, the Team Hawkes-trained colt was sent off the $1.40 favourite under Tommy Berry and comfortably defeated Zethus (Exceed And Excel) by two lengths, despite being very green in the straight. Sing A Love Song (Your Song) was another one and three-quarter lengths back in third. The brother to 2018 Golden Slipper winner Estijaab (Snitzel) is on the same path as his sister with co-trainer Michael Hawkes pleased to see him get his first goal out of the way. “Trials are one thing, but you’ve got to come out and do it on race day,” Hawkes said. “You can take a lot away from that run, he had the bad barrier and had a lot go against him. The part I loved the most was when Tommy brought him back and travelled well underneath him. They’re signs of good horses.” Hawkes was not scared to compare the siblings and added: “She had natural gate speed, he has natural gate speed. He’s heading towards the Slipper, we are not going to deny that. Two-year-olds don’t usually do that, good two-year-olds do and he’s a good two-year-old.”


Alderson stayer makes it two from two

Cindy Alderson’s decision to push Liqueuro (Fiorente) out to 2000 metres at his second start paid off as he posted an impressive effort to land the Benchmark 70 contest at Flemington. Alderson said Liqueuro always indicated he was going to be a stayer and toyed with the idea of kicking his career off over 2000 metres. However, she took the three-year-old gelding to Mornington where he won on debut over 1500 metres. “I thought he really did need 2000 metres, which he needed every inch today to win,” Alderson said. “He’s been one of those horses that doesn’t do a lot in trackwork but he does keep on, he keeps on finding.” Liqueuro finished strongly to defeat Alloway (Wandjina) by a head, with Solar Apex (Deep Impact) a length behind the winner in third. 


In-from Harpo Marx continues purple patch

The Bjorn Baker-trained Harpo Marx (Galileo) continued his rich vein of form this preparation with a fast-finishing victory in the 2000-metre Benchmark 78 at Rosehill yesterday. The five-year-old, who has won three times and placed twice in his last six starts, produced a late burst to run down tearaway leader Vadiyann (Footstepsinthesand) by a head, with First Courier two lengths behind the winner in third. Stable representative Stephen McLean explained he had spoken with Baker after the race, who watched closely while at the Gold Coast and was not confident during the run. “I just had a quick chat with Bjorn and he said he wouldn’t have taken 1000-1 at the 500m,” McLean said. “But full credit to the horse, he dug deep and fought hard all the way to the line. It was a slight concern dropping back to the 2000 metres today, but he is rock hard fit.” The Baker camp now have some planning to do as to where Harpo Marx will head next. “The Australia Day Cup may come a bit too soon for him there at Warwick Farm, but I think we’ve definitely got to look at it as an option,” McLean said.


McNeil ends losing streak

Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Jye McNeil ended a difficult run of 51 Melbourne rides without a winner when partnering Coolth (Dundeel) to victory in yesterday’s Drumborg Trophy (2000m) at Flemington. McNeil’s previous win came at Flemington on December 12 and he has subsequently slipped down to seventh on the jockeys’ premiership with 19 wins. Coolth, trained by Tony and Calvin McEvoy, is being lined up for a shot at the Adelaide Cup (Gr 2, 3200m) in March.


Blamey the target for Over Exposure

Over Exposure (Rothesay) will be targeted at the Blamey Stakes (Gr 2, 1600m) at Flemington next month after a convincing win over the course and distance yesterday. The winner of the Blamey will gain a ballot-free entry into the $5 million All-Star Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley in March, which is the ultimate goal for the Tony and Calvin McEvoy-trained gelding. “We’re going to try and target him at the Blamey. If that means a run in the Carlyon Stakes first, he’s up to that level,” Calvin McEvoy told “He’s come through all his niggling injuries and those things that have happened to him earlier in his career. He’s a lovely sound horse now and I think we’re going to be rewarded.”