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By Magic Millions | Saturday, January 15, 2022

Star filly Coolangatta justified the massive hype on her as the country’s best two-year-old with a brilliant win in the $2 million The Star Gold Coast Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast on Saturday.

Ciaron Maher and David Eustace’s juvenile took her unbeaten record to three, albeit she was forced to dig into reserves not needed in her two prior wins.

After beginning evenly from barrier 10, jockey James McDonald was able to find a lovely spot with cover just behind the speed before allowing the daughter of Written Tycoon to improve around the leading pair from the 500m.

Coolangatta sprinted two lengths clear of her rivals at the top of the straight but was forced to stave off the late challenge of Russian Conquest, who emerged as the only threat but could only get within a neck of the winner.

Maher, who won the 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast in 2020 with Away Game, said his overwhelming emotion post-race was relief.

He paid tribute to Eustace, as well as his Bloodstock Manager Will Bourne, who identified the filly before she’d even appeared in the catalogue for the 2021 Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

The filly is raced by a partnership that includes prominent owners John O’Neill, Ozzie Kheir and Brae Sokolski.

“It’s a big relief when they’re such a short-priced favourite,” Maher said.

“When JMac went early it made me a little nervous but she was super.

“Dave and I aren’t normally at the track together – he’s somewhere and I’m usually somewhere else – so it’s great to share it with him today.

“She’ll have a break now and head towards the Slipper.”

McDonald, who had never won the Magic Millions Classic prior to Saturday, said Coolangatta rated among the best two-year-olds he’s ridden.

“She’s a special filly,” McDonald said.

“The race played out perfectly, I got into the best spot possible and she does the rest.

“It was a great thrill to ride such a dominant favourite in the race, it comes with big expectations and I’m glad to be able to aid her with a nice ride.

“I’ve ridden some nice two-year-olds and she’s definitely up there.”

A $280,000 purchase by Ciaron Maher Bloodstock out of the Milburn Creek draft at the 2021 Gold Coast Yearling Sale, Coolangatta has now amassed more than $1.3 million in prizemoney for connections.

Maher has been extremely active at this week’s 2022 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale with a string of high-priced purchases, including a $1.7 million Not A Single Doubt colt (Lot 261) and a $1.5 million Pierro colt (Lot 419).

He also paid $800,000 for an I Am Invincible filly (Lot 676) out of Milburn Creek’s draft.

The lion’s share of the $500,000 Magic Millions Racing Women’s Bonus for eligible horses was collected by seventh-placed Sneaky Starter, with Victorian colts Stupendo and Cusack also bolstering their prizemoney with lucrative bonuses.

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Photos: Darren Winningham
Photos: Darren Winningham
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