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By Graham Potter | Friday, January 10, 2020

Thirty-two runners … two fields of sixteen runners apiece … will line up for the featured Magic Millions 2YO Classic and the Magic Millions 3yo Guineas at the Gold Coast tomorrow. In those contests seven Queensland based jockeys will be taking on the best riders from all over Australia in the search for Millions glory. HRO’s Graham Potter spoke to each of them about the feelings going into the big day.

*Runners are commented on in preferred betting order. Prices are correct at the time of publication and are obviously subject to change.



Ryan Maloney: (Alligator Blood – trained by David Vandyke, the strong $1.75 favourite for the Magic Millions Guineas).

“I know the weight of expectations is on my shoulders but I go into the race very confident because I know he has got the class to continue to do what he has been doing.

“He had the faultless preparation his whole career bar the planned run in Sydney where it was probably a very good thing that he didn’t go around and that the stewards allowed that because he wasn’t right. It was a blessing in disguise.

He certainly has got the X-Factor and I think he is going to be a force to be reckoned, not only now, but when he gets older too.

“The Group 1 Caulfield Guineas is the only loss in his formline … and that was only by the narrowest of margins. Like I said, he is going to go on with it. Maybe he will still give me that Group 1."

Baylee Nothdurft (Howwonderfullifeis – trained by Tony Gollan - a $151 chance in the Magic Million Guineas)

“You’ve just got to treat it like every other race when you are out there.

“My horse just got into the field. Obviously, Alligator Blood looks virtually unbeatable but, importantly though, my horse is going for that Racing Women’s bonus*. She is an all-female owned horse. There is a heap of ladies in her ownership.

“I think she is only one of three horses in the race with one hundred percent women owners. Dubious is one and I think The Executioner is the other. So, they will be picking up part of the bonus whatever happens because the bonus pays down to the first four finishers home that are owned by all women owners, where-ever they finish.

“My horse has got the winkers on and 1400m is going to be a query, but she should be right on pace and, if she can beat those other two home the connections get at least get a big payday in that race within a race."

*For the first time on Saturday 11 January 2020, a new $250,000 Racing Women’s Bonus will be on offer to the first four eligible all female owned (or leased) horses in finishing order in the $2million Gold Coast Magic Millions 3YO Guineas. The bonus distribution is: 1st – $162,500 plus trophy of $1,500, 2nd – $50,000, 3rd -$25,000, 4th -$12,500; subject to Trainer and Jockey deductions. If less than four (4) eligible horses compete in the MM 3YO Guineas, any unused Bonus prizemoney will be distributed evenly between the Bonus eligible horses that finish the race.

The R2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic Racing Woman’s Bonus, which was first introduced in 2012 remains in place with $500 000 up for grabs – with a cool $325 000 going to the winner.

Larry Cassidy (On Five Glory – traied by Peter and Will Hulbert - a $201 chance in the Magic Million Guineas)

“The excitement always builds when you are riding in races like this … but when you come out with barrier eighteen it does deflate you a bit.

“A look at her form shows she was well beaten by Alligator Blood and he will probably be too good again.

Had she drawn an inside gate she would probably have had a sneaky chance of running a place but, from a wide gate, although she will still run alright and not disgrace herself, it is disappointing because it just makes things that much tougher.

“I think this time we are going to go forward and hopefully we can just tuck in and have a bit of luck but yeah … I’ve been riding a long time and the excitement is still there.”



Stephanie Thornton (Gotta Kiss – trained by Steven O’dea - a $14 chance in the Magic Millions 2yo Classic).

“I came up here at the start of the Spring when we lost all our claiming races in Melbourne and it gets quite tough for apprentices.

“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to Steven O’dea and Proven Thoroughbreds. They knew nothing about me when I came up here but they put a lot of trust in me which allowed me to hit the ground running. I can’t thank them enough.

“My horse is well in with a chance on Saturday so I have no doubt there were plenty of riders trying to get on. I am very grateful the connections stuck by me. Gotta Kiss has done everything right. I can’t fault her. It is always hard with two-year-olds, but you have just got to hope she puts her best foot forward on the day and, if she does, she is going to give them a fright.

“The Magic Millions has already been a special experience for me … riding at the beach gallops. Obviously, that is not something everybody gets to do and, again, I am very grateful that I got the opportunity to do that … particularly riding out there with Frankie Dettori. It’s obviously a prestigious week up here and to be a part of it is great.”

Robbie Fradd (Wisdom Of Water – trained by Toby and Trent Edmonds - a $17 chance in the Magic Millions 2yo Classic)

“It is special day for most people but for me it is just another day … a big crowd, a lot of noise.

"You do probably have to be on the right horse on the day … one that behaves itself nicely.

“I think the last start will take the edge off my horse so I think he will be a lot better behaved … which I’m hoping he will be because, if he does things right, he is in with a big chance this horse.

“Definitely … with the way he closed off last time.

“Luck does play a big part in the race because it is a hectic race but it is a race where you also have to try and make your own luck.

“There is often a lot of scrimmaging … those out wide want to go forward, those on the inside want to keep their spot so you can get that bottle-neck.

“My horse … well, we rode it quiet last time and we’ll probably do something similar … be in midfield and hope that they go too quick so we can peel out and finish off like he did last time.

“He is a big runner this horse.”

Dale Smith (Dusty Tycoon – trained by Robert Heathcote - a $20 chance in the Magic Millions 2yo Classic)

“I would have liked to have drawn a little bit easier. The draw is sticky … but we come into thirteen after scratchings. The hope is that we are going to be able to dictate to the horses on our inside instead of being dictated to by them.

“We’ll be going forward, being positive and trying to put pressure on those horses on the inside and I think he will be able to take up a handy enough possie in the first half of the field. There are something like 700 owners in this horse. The Gold Coast Turf Club have cordoned off an area between the 400m and the 200m for them so I’m definitely going to be hearing them.

“There was natural improvement in the horse between the first and second win and I think there more natural improvement to go with it.

"I still think she is going to be a better three-year-old. She is still a quite leggy and still learning her trade … but she has done everything we have asked her to do up until this point … and that is just win!

She is probably going to be in a situation she has never been before … that is she is going to be behind a couple.

I think with the winkers on though that will keep her mind focussed and hopefully we can overturn the disadvantage of a bad gate."

Matthew McGillivray (Smart 'N' Sexy – trained by Toby and Trent Edmonds - a $35 chance in the Magic Millions 2yo Classic)

“When Smart 'N' Sexy got beaten into second place last week I was a bit disappointed. I thought we wouldn’t make the field for the big race but we just scraped in which was fortunate.

“We’ve got a bit of a kick in the guts with the barrier obviously but I think the speed will be nice enough for us to be able to slot somewhere in midfield. That’s where I see us being. She’s got the blinkers on as well.

“We are in it to win it like everybody else. There is the unknown factor of luck in the running that always seems to play a part in these high-pressure races. It can either favour you or go against you. You can get held up. You can get a dream run through. What you do know is that you won’t be given an inch out there.

“If all goes to plan, hopefully we can run top three. I think she has got the ability to do that.”

More articles

Alligator Blood and Ryan Maloney
Alligator Blood and Ryan Maloney
Howwonderfullifeis and Baylee Nothdurft
Howwonderfullifeis and Baylee Nothdurft
Oh Five Glory and Larry Cassidy
Oh Five Glory and Larry Cassidy
Gotta Kiss and Stephanie Thornton
Gotta Kiss and Stephanie Thornton
Wisdom Of Water and Robbie Fradd
Wisdom Of Water and Robbie Fradd
Dusty Tycoon and Dale Smith
Dusty Tycoon and Dale Smith
Smart 'N' Sexy and Matthew McGillivray

Photos: Graham Potter
Smart 'N' Sexy and Matthew McGillivray

Photos: Graham Potter
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