The Gary Portelli trained Sebring Express changed the script as far as the $200,000 Wyong Magic Millions Classic on December 22 is concerned with a comprehensive win in the Kooindah Waters Resort Two Year Old (1000m) at Wyong today.
Sebring Express was one of the runners not eligible for the Magic Millions but she is eligible for the Inglis Classic on February 11 at Randwick and that is where she is headed.
Portelli was in Hong Kong with Rebel Dane but foreman Troy Anderson said Sebring Express had been sent to Wyong to try and get enough prize money to make sure she qualified for the classic.
“We have always had an opinion of her,” Anderson said.
Apprentice Deanne Panya was forced to sit three wide on the filly for the whole trip but she was far too strong, fighting off the leader and favourite Madonnica soon after straightening to go on and beat that horse by three quarters of a length with Legal Girl overcoming a host of problems to finish third, a further one and three quarter lengths away.
Legal Girl was restless in the barriers and missed the start and Brenton Avdulla had to push her along the fence to try and stay in touch.
She then ran into trouble on the turn yet still continued to make up ground in the straight.
“I will push on to the Wyong Magic Millions with her but I will take the blinkers off and put a barrier blanket on her,” Conners said.
Josh Parr, in career best form, followed up his double at Hawkesbury on Sunday with a treble at Wyong today although he worried at one stage that his second winner might not eventuate.
Parr won the Brook Racing and Sporting Services Maiden (1600m) on the John Thompson trained Fantastic Man, the Ray White Thompson Partners Class Two (1350m) on Cabeza De Vaca for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bolt and the final race, the Berry Realty The Entrance Class One (1000m) on the Albert Stapleford trained Tornadic.
Parr worried that his chance of winning the second leg had been thrown away when the horse made a mistake nearing the turn.
“Cabeza Da Vaca is a horse that does not have a sprint but he does have a high cruising speed so I decided to go straight to the lead and let him build momentum,” Parr said.
“Everything was going smoothly until he hit the running rail and because he had blinkers on and could not see what he had hit he panicked.
“I thought, I have put all this work into building up his momentum and now he has thrown the race away.
“However he got going again and finished the race off well.
“He is a really nice horse and I think he will eventually progress to city Saturday grade, probably over 2000 metres.”
Fantastic Man, a giant of a horse, finally broke through at his sixth start to win after starting a long odds on favourite.
Prior to that Fantastic Man had run consecutive seconds at Canterbury, Newcastle and Kembla Grange, all over shorter distances.
“He hasn’t been frustrating, just unlucky,” trainer John Thompson, said.
“He is such a big horse that getting out to this distance today suited him.
“He is still learning and later on he could easily get out to 2000 metres.
“He is a big horse but just a beautiful, relaxed animal and he is still growing into his big frame.”
Parr said he knew he was on the best horse and when Brenton Avdulla (Guthrum) tried to put him in a pocket at the 600 metres he sent Fantastic Man forward.
“I didn’t want to go then but I wasn’t going to let Brenton spoil the plan,” Parr said.
Despite going early Fantastic Man had way too much class.
Friends Judy Mccallum and Gayle Stanley bred the son of Redoute’s Choice.
“He was a big boy from the day he was born,” Judy said.
Connections of Tornadic want to target the Inglis Three Year Old Sprint (1100m) at Randwick on Saturday week following his all the way win.
“We are probably aiming a bit high but it would be nice to have a runner,” part owner Robert Stapleford, a nephew of the trainer, said.
“This win makes up for his third at Canterbury last month when he missed the start and that is something he never does.
“Albert then freshened him up for this race.”
Tornadic was back to his best barrier manners and was quickly away from his outside gate, soon in the lead and never headed to win by two and a quarter lengths in smart time.
There was drama before the start when the two favourites, Treviso and Viceman, both played up in the barriers, hit their heads and were declared late scratchings on veterinary advice.
Amazing Story, a $210,000 yearling purchase, broke through at his second start to score an impressive win in the WRC $30 Mid Year Membership Join Now Maiden (1200m).
The Peter and Paul Snowden trained three year old was pressured in the lead from the start by Armet but shook him off and raced away in the straight to win by three lengths from Australia Justice.
At his previous start he ran third in a maiden at Canterbury after getting a long way back but the decision was made to today to lead and it paid off.
“He is a nice horse but he was immature and it took time for the penny to drop,” foreman Jackson Biers said.
“The original plan was to try and leave him as an entire because he is so well bred but it wasn’t working so the decision was made to geld him.
“On that effort we think he is going to develop into a 1400 metres or 1600 metres horse.”
Tommy Berry adopted similar catch me if you can tactics on Epitomise which led all the way to win the Ray White Thompson Partners Maiden (1200m) for Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes.
Despite wanting to race with her held high the four year old mare scored impressively from Painted Lady.
“That’s why she wears a nose roll,” Michael Hawkes said.
“She has taken a long time to mature and really, she is still only a three year old.
“We have always thought she would make a nice horse and that is why she has been in and out of the stable several times.”
Epitomise was having her second start back from a spell after a good second at Newcastle when resuming.
“She has come back a lot fitter this time but still wanted to over race so she still has some learning to do,” Berry said.
While Legal Girl blew he chances in the two year old, Conners was in the winner’s circle in the following race and wiping a tear from his eyes after Scraps (Brenton Avdulla), trained at Geelong by his son Health, won the Wyong Equine Clinic Class One and Maiden (2100m).
It came after the horse had been unplaced eight times on Victorian provincial tracks.
“The owners are new to the stable and Heath has been desperate to win a race for them,” Conners said.
“He picked this race out and sent the horse up and it only arrived at my place 48 hours ago.
“However it settled in well and did everything right and a that was a great ride from Brenton.
“I have no idea if the horse is staying with me or if it is going back.”
Avdulla said everything had worked out perfectly.
“He relaxed after we jumped, I got into the perfect spot on the fence behind the speed and even though he wobbled a bit coming around the turn I knew he was going to be hard to beat.”
Scraps went on to beat the Allan Kehoe trained Jayzou by three quarters of a length.
Never Back Down (Adam Hyernonimus) appreciated the drop in grade to score his first win in 16 starts when he won the Potters Flooring Benchmark 64 (1600m).
Hyeronimus sent the six year old along the rail to grab the lead late and win by half a length from I’m Bulletproof (Tommy Berry) which was brave as it tried to lead all the way.
Hyeronimus said Never Back Down had appreciated the drop back in class.
“He has been racing against much stronger company than this,” Hyeronimus said.
“His run two starts back at Randwick was good when he ran a close sixth and I even thought his run in the Goulburn cup was good.
“He was racing against much stronger horses than these.”
Never Back Down finished 11th in the cup beaten nine lengths.