Robbie Griffiths & Mathew de Kock have taken out the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes with Thomas Stockdale piloting King Magnus (+450) to victory second-up at Caulfield on Saturday.
After kicking off his campaign with an eighth of 16 in the Group 2 Damien Oliver during Cup week, the son of Magnus relished the soft conditions and proved too good for his rivals, careering away to win by a length on the line.
Stockdale allowed his mount to jump and settle behind the speed, which was set by Glint Of Silver (+1400) with Unusual Culture (+550) sitting outside of him giving the eventual winner a nice cart into the race.
The sprint went on at the 400m mark and as the leader began to weaken, King Magnus was only getting stronger and took the lead at the 200m mark.
Race favourite Vilana (-125) appeared as though he was going to throw out a strong challenge; however, when Jamie Kah went for the gelding, he couldn’t go with the winner and was eventually nabbed by Unusual Culture in the final strides to finish third.
2023 Kevin Heffernan Stakes Replay – King Magnus | T: Robbie Griffiths & Mathew de Kock| J: Thomas Stockdale
Robbie Griffiths was on track at Caulfield, and he was very pleased with the victory when speaking post-race.
“He is like an ATM, that’s what we always say about Magnus,” Griffiths said.
“Magnus means money and he keeps delivering ‘The King’, a good day to do it, it’s my anniversary today.
“It’s a great race to win because Kevin Heffernan was a dear friend and we’ve tried a few times to win this and run second so to win with The King and in partnership with Matt and on my anniversary, it’s a pretty special day.
“We are going to be rewarded and the proof’s in today’s win, there’s not many owners and trainers that cheer for Winter conditions on the second day of Summer but it suited The King and it suited us.
“We wanted to have a crack at it (today) but in saying that we were in at Kilmore last week and they got called off so probably a blessing in disguise that it worked out.”
“Whether he has more runs depends on his recovery but in himself he’s got a lot to offer.”
“He (Stockdale) rode him a treat. The game plan was to try and be in the one-one and move in at the right time and everything worked perfectly so kudos to Tom.”
Thomas Stockdale picked up his first Group 3 winner in Melbourne aboard King Magnus and he was quite emotional post-race.
“It means a lot, I’ve managed to pull off a stakes win in Adelaide but to do it in Melbourne is a whole other thrill,” Stockdale said.
“To come out of my apprenticeship and to have things go the way they’ve gone and get the support from such good stables, to get on a horse like him and win a Group race three weeks out of my time is pretty special.
“He just tries so hard, he’s just a little horse but he’s got plenty of heart, it was probably a blessing that Kilmore got called off and he came here today.
“With the wet track it just increased his chances and with the spot in running that we had tracking Unusual Culture into the race, he was just travelling through that ground so well, he’s was always bolting underneath me.”