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By Graham Potter | Friday, March 26, 2010

Eagle Farm, March 24, 2010.
Track - Good 3. Rail - out 8m.
Maiden Plate (2yo - Set Weights - Division 1) - 1000m. Time: 57.72. (Carrying 53kg).
1 Mr Mafia; 2 Liesele; 3 Divine Scent.

The first-timer My Mafia scored an impressive debut victory turning in a performance which justified his place at the top of the betting market, although those who took the price had to cope with some anxious moments.

It was not so much that My Mafia won the race, but it was the manner in which he carved out the result that caught the eye. As a debutant, the gelding did things wrong, but the result came down to a case of raw ability overcoming inexperience.

My Mafia complicated his task with his very first stride when he was slow out of the gates. That left him well back in the second half of the field as the runners stretched out in the quick chase to the turn. My Mafia then cornered in ninth spot along the inside, all of nine lengths off the tearaway front-runner Requested, who was kicking away, intent on making every post a winning one.

My Mafia started to charge immediately on straightening. Apprentice jockey Ashley Butler first considered a rails run at the 350m mark, but he backed off that option and he pulled My Mafia out again with 250m left to run.

The task was still a testing one at the 200m mark where My Mafia was still six lengths off the leader but, as Requested started the feel the pinch up front, My Mafia joined a cavalry charge of runners who started to make up ground on the leader.

In a driving finish the result came down to a fight between My Mafia and Liesele, wide out on the track, with My Mafia stretching his neck out on the line to claim his first win by a fighting long-head margin ahead of a game Liesele.

Take note also of the effort of Divine Scent who worked strongly to the line alongside the first two finishers over the last 150m to claim a close-up third placing, just a neck behind the second placed runner.

Trainer Leon Morton: “The horse is above average and when he missed the kick I thought, oh my God, you know. Even in the race he sort of changed his mind a couple of times, but the horse has got the will to win. He just keeps going.

“For a while there he wasn’t going to run in the first three. Then he was going to run third ... then second and then he got to the front. I’ll take it.”

Apprentice jockey Ashley Butler: “They’ve got a big opinion of the horse. He didn’t jump too flash. I gave him a bit of a dig. He travelled up there but was never travelling on the bit.

“He’s never been behind a horse. I got him out into the clear at the top of the straight. I gave him a bit of a kick and he extended pretty easy.

“Being slow away ... yeah, it did change the game-plan. I rode him in a trial a couple of weeks ago and I was pretty handy. He won the trial pretty easy and I was sitting handy outside the leader, so we would have liked to be closer, but I’m happy.”

Winner (Mr Mafia): 2.10 out to 2.40.
The winner was the favourite.

Hennessy's Magic (C. Whiteley), which was slow to begin, was cramped for room shortly after the start by Goodbyetoallthat (S. Galloway), which shifted out. Mr Mafia (A. Butler) jumped away awkwardly and missed the start.

Near the 600m, Mr Mafia had to be eased to avoid the heels of Capelle (A. Spinks), which shifted in.

Mr Mafia was held up rounding the home turn and was unable to obtain clear running until approaching the 200m.

Incremental (J. Byrne) raced wide for the majority of the event.

Following the race L. Deguara, rider of Dragons Bletch, was examined by paramedics after the colt threw its head up and struck her in the face. L. Deguara was cleared to fulfil her remaining engagements.

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