Victorian jockey Mark Zahra spent the last week and a half living on a diet of fish and water but it proved worthwhile when Madeenaty led all the way and clung on near the line to win the $200,000 Wyong Magic Millions Two Year Old Classic (1100m) on Thursday.
Zahra had to get down to 54.5kgs, a weight he rarely rides at, to retain the ride at Wyong and in the $2 Million Magic Millions Two Year Old Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast next month.
Ben Hayes, who trains the filly along with his father David and cousin Tom Dabernig, flew to Wyong to represent the stable and was all smiles as the filly returned to scale.
He was quickly on his mobile to his father to tell him that Madeenaty had a run time just a fraction of a second outside Capitalist’s record time, set last year.
He has no doubts that Madeenaty will run out the 1200 metres at the Gold Coast.
“She did it tough today because of the wide barrier and had to do it at both ends,” Hayes said.
“Mark had to hunt her out to get across to the lead but fortunately she has brilliant gate speed then she had to finish the race off.
“She is an adaptable filly and she does not have to lead.
“If we can draw a decent gate at the Gold Coast she could take a sit.
“I thought it was a very impressive win considering she was under pressure the whole way.”
Madeenaty looked set to sprint away from her rivals in the straight until the Gary Portelli trained Single Bullet (Koby Jennings), which had no luck in running, flew late to get within a neck of the winner.
The Gai Waterhouse-Adrian Bolt trained Dinnigan (Tommy Berry) also got well back early before flying home to finish a further long head away third.
Hayes said Madeenaty would go back to their training base at Eurora and be kept fresh with time in a paddock, in the pool and on the water walker.
“We will keep her at home for as a long as possible then fly her to Brisbane,” he said.
Clarry Conners, one of the all time great trainers of two year olds, said he was impressed with the winner.
However he does not think she has a mortgage on the Gold Coast race.
“They are an outstanding lot of two year olds this year and the Magic Millions is going to be a very hard race to win,” he said. ***
Bjorn Baker has predicted the best is yet to come from Egyptian Symbol after she made a one act affair of the $100,000 Wyong Magic Millions Three and Four Year Old Stakes (1200m).
“She is going to be hard to beat in the mare’s race at the Gold Coast,” Baker said.
“The three weeks and two days between this race and that race is just perfect and that’s why we ran her here.
“She is amongst the best mares I have trained and I don’t think we have seen the best of her yet.”
Egyptian Symbol was having her first run since a luckless fifth in the Group Three Maybe Mahal at Flemington on Melbourne Cup day.
She had a freshen up after that then was set for Wyong as the stepping stone to the $1 million Magic Millions Fillies and Mares (1300m) on January 14.
Blake Shinn rode her at Flemington but Brenton Avdulla was back aboard at Wyong and was given an arm chair ride.
“All I had to do was sit and steer,” Avdulla said.
“I wasn’t worried about being outside the leader.
“I was able to get her into a good rhythm and the way she won this tells me she is going to be hard beat at the Gold Coast.”
While the overall time was outside the track and class record courtesy of a steadily run race early, Egyptian Symbol ran home the last 600 seconds in a brilliant 32.82 seconds yet Avdulla hardly moved on her.
“It is impossible for horses to come from behind and win when the leader runs that sort of time,” Baker said.
Egyptian Symbol went on to beat the Matthew Dunn trained Madotti with Dam Ready third.
Last year Madoitti beat Egyptian Symbol at the Gold Coast.
“She is a three lengths better horse this time,” Baker said.
A half-brother to Egyptian Symbol, by Zoustar, will go through the Magic Millions sale next month.
“Will I be trying to buy him?,” Baker asked.
“I don’t think I will be able to afford him now.”
Bjorn Baker described Tornado Of Souls as the most laid back horse in his stable and almost apologised for how easy he was to train after his win, on debut, in the Mainstream Taxation and Accountancy Maiden (1100m) to give the stable the first leg of a double.
The win also gave Tye Angland the first leg of a winning double, later winning the final race, the DNR Airconditioning Benchmark 60 (1200m) on the Clarry Conners trained Dorf Star.
Tornado Of Souls went to Baker two months ago when Michael Costa moved to the Gold Coast but Costa retained a share.
“I really can’t take much credit for the win,” Baker said.
“Michael did the ground work and he is such an easy horse to train.
“He is such a laid back dude that even I would jump on his back.
“Having said that I think he is a horse with a lot of ability and he will get a bit further than this.”
Angland settled him in second place to the turn on the outside of the leader Fiery Eminence.
Soon after straightening Angland shot Tornado Of Souls to the lead and he went on to beat first starter and favourite Tswalu (Tim Clark) by one and a quarter lengths in race record time.
Angland had a far more difficult ride to win on Dorf Star with Conners, mid race, ready to concede that the four year old could not win.
“Half way through the race I said to my wife we were no hope,” Conners said.
Angland had other ideas despite being four wide and back with the tail enders.
He started a long, searching run wide out from the 700 metres and in the straight gradually made ground on the leader Kite Hill as Hugh Bowman desperately rode that horse.
Dorf Star grabbed the lead near the line to win by a long neck.
“What were you doing back there,” Conners asked Angland after he dismounted?
“I was thinking half way through the race it is just as well you are not wired up with a microphone,” Angland said.
“I think he needs 1400 metres to give him time to find his feet.”
Conners said Dorf Star was becoming just like his dam Dorf Commands.
“I trained her and she won nine or 10 races including the Waterhouse Classic at Ipswich,” Conners said.
“She raced the same way, getting well back then charging home.”
The friendship between owner/breeder Paul Frampton, jockey Hugh Bowman and Bowman’s father Jim goes back to when Bowman was born.
“Jim and I have been friends and neighbours for a long time and I have known Hugh since the day he was born,” Frampton said.
That friendship was further cemented when the Jeff Englebrecht trained Hammond Lane, ridden by Bowman, travelled wide but still won the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale Benchmark 69.
Hammond Lane was so in control that Bowman let him coast to the line in the final few strides to win by a neck from the top weight Choice Larga, trained by Damien Lane.
That was Hammond Lane’s fourth start for Englebrecht and his second win for him after the horse was switched from Sue Grills at Tamworth.
“The horse was getting too much weight in the country so Paul did a switch around and gave me this horse and sent Hammoon Boy from me to Sue,” Englebrecht said.
“That was such a nice win we might have to look at some mid-week races in town.
‘’He is a big striding horse I told Hugh to keep him out of trouble and I was glad to see him racing wide.
“It was the perfect ride given the way the horse races.”
Bowman believes that Hammond Lane is still on a learning curve despite that being his 17th start.
“He still has a way to go, he is still learning his craft,” Bowman said.
Anthony Cummings sent one horse to Wyong and the stable went home a winner when Lookin’ At You resumed from a lengthy spell to win the Priced Contracting Maiden (1350m).
“He was ready and this was the right race at the right time,” foreman, Dave Wilson said.
“Anthony stepped him up to 2000 metres last preparation so I imagine he will look to step him up in distance at his next start.”
Blake Shinn settled Lookin’ At You in second position on the outside of the leader Australia Art, went past that horse at the top of the straight then held off a determined bid from Echo Queen to beat that mare by half a neck.
Gary Moore did a short jig in the parade yard after Shalluck (Tim Clark) dug deep to lead all the way and win The Property Market Benchmark 60 (1600m).
But Moore would not respond to urgings from a section of the crowd and go out on the track and repeat of his response when Takedown won The Shorts at Randwick.
However, Moore was just a excited with Shalluck’s win, waving to the crowd, leading the horse back to scale and giving Clark a hug.
“That was a game, tough win and we will go to town with him now to try and win,” Moore said.
“I want to keep him around the mile mark for now but who knows what might happen later.
“Much of the credit should go to Bryan Guy who picked the horse out at the sale and bought him.
“Bryan has a great eye for a horse and then Aquis gave him to me to train.”
Shalluck, having only his fourth start refused to give in when Jayzou (Tye Angland) came at him to win by half a length.