|What||Gold Coast Magic Millions 2YO Classic 2022|
|Where||Aquis Park, Gold Coast Turf Club – Bundall, QLD|
|When||Saturday, January 15, 2022|
|Conditions||Two-Years-Old | Set Weights|
|2021 Winner||Shaquero (1) | Trainer: Chris Waller | Jockey: Hugh Bowman (57kg)|
The highlight of the Queensland Summer Carnival is Saturday’s $2 million Gold Coast Magic Millions 2YO Classic over 1200m, and this year’s race is set to be another cracking edition. A capacity field of 16 has been assembled, with five emergencies, creating a stressful time for connections of those five runners who are sweating on a run. After Tuesday morning’s barrier draw, the short-priced favourite, Coolangatta, just eased slightly in betting to $1.95, while Russian Conquest ($7) and Miss Hellfire ($12) remained rock-solid at their respective quotes after drawing favourably. There is shaping to be plenty of speed in what will be a high-pressure race, thanks to early tactical speed from Cusack, Thelwell, Coolangatta, Miss Hellfire and Sneaky Starter. Could there be an upset in this year’s race, or is it a one-horse race? Find out who HorseBetting’s Queensland racing analyst is backing in the race, and his thoughts on all 21 runners.
1. CUSACK (6)
2yoC | T: Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young | J: Craig Newitt (57kg)
Topping the weights for the 2022 edition is the Busuttin and Young-trained colt, Cusack. The son of Not a Single Doubt won the Ballarat Magic Millions 2YO Clockwise Classic by a tenth of a length at his only start on November 20. The stable opted to send this undefeated sprinter to the Gold Coast quite early on, which saw him win two trials since his debut run, leading all of the way in both on December 20 and January 4. The chestnut has drawn gate six under Craig Newitt, which will see him go forward and be in the race for a long time. It’s just a matter of whether or not he can see out a strong 1200m – we aren’t convinced.
2. MISHANI WARFARE (7)
2yoG | T: Les Ross | J: James Orman (57kg)
One of three Les Ross-trained gallopers in the final field is Mishani Warfare. The gelded son of The Mission has two of his five starts, including a last-to-first victory at the Sunshine Coast on December 17 over 1000m. Ross tends to have plenty of success with these Mishani-named two-year-olds, and this galloper is no different, while he also has the 1200m box ticked. The gelding was only fair on New Year’s Day at Doomben when he faded to run sixth behind Golden Artie over 1200m. James Orman returns from his injury which is a big plus, we just aren’t sure this galloper is up to them.
3. STUPENDO (19)
2yoC | T: Danny O’Brien | J: Craig Williams (57kg)
Danny O’Brien will be looking to win his first Magic Millions 2YO Classic on Saturday when he saddles up his colt by Supido. Stupendo, a debut winner at Flemington, was only just defeated in Saturday’s Aquis Gold Nugget (1100m) at this course. After sustaining a wide run from barrier eight in the 10-horse field, the colt was only grabbed late by the eye-catching Mishani Spartan, who saved ground along the fence. Stupendo was pretty dominant on debut, sitting outside the leader in the 1100m dash, before fending off the challenges from Godolphin duo Kin and Va Via. Barrier 19 is an absolute nightmare gate to have been served up, but he can well and truly measure up to these if he gets the right run. He’s in the mix.
4. MISHANI SPARTAN (3)
2yoG | T: Les Ross | J: Jackson Morris (57kg)
After winning on debut at Ipswich as a $51 outsider and then taking out the Gold Nugget on Saturday as a $21 chance, Brisbane‘s racecaller David Fowler aptly described Mishani Spartan as a “giant-killer“, which we think is only fair. The Les Ross-trained Husson gelding was deadset gone in Saturday’s $125,000 race; he was being scrubbed up long before the turn and seemingly had no chance of winning, before appearing out of nowhere up the inside to win by three quarters of a length. Provided he can tack on early enough in the run from barrier three, there is going to be a solid tempo to suit his fast-finish, which, dare we say it, could see him competitive once again.
5. GOLDEN ARTIE (17)
2yoG | T: Bryan & Daniel Guy | J: Ben Thompson (57kg)
Golden Artie caused a slight upset at Doomben on the first day of 2022, defeating the short-priced Soaring Ambition by just under half a length. The Bryan & Daniel Guy-trained gelding was not far off at all on debut behind Palazzo Spirit at Eagle Farm, before going to the Sunshine Coast off a freshen up and running a luckless fourth behind Mishani Warfare and Perfect Mission. Ben Thompson knows this horse very well now, having ridden him in two barrier trials and two races, while the home track advantage could play right into his favour on Saturday. Naturally, barrier 17 isn’t ideal, but if Thompson can manage to follow Coolangatta in to the race, he could be strongest late. Include.
6. MISHANI PERSUASION (21)
2yoG | T: Les Ross | J: Rachel King (57kg)
The third of Les Ross‘ runners in the final field is the son of Heroic Valour, Mishani Persuasion. This gelding has had five starts for a win, a second and a third, with his sole victory coming on October 16 at Eagle Farm over 1000m, where he didn’t beat much. Since then, he has placed twice, including an eye-catching third behind his stablemate Mishani Warfare. He made no impression last time out, so it will take a miracle if Mishani Persuasion can win this race from the outside alley.
7. THELWELL (5)
2yo G | T: Sharryn Livingstone | J: Justin Stanley (57kg)
Typically, in each big race, there is always a horse with a good story, and this year, this is the horse. The $25,000 purchase is trained by Sharryn Livingstone out of Deagon and has already won connections three times his purchase price, after breaking his maiden at the Sunshine Coast on Friday, January 7. The son of Bel Esprit really served it up to Coolangatta at Group 3 level on Boxing Day, and his form prior to that was good enough at a high level. From barrier five, the gelding’s regular rider, Justin Stanley, will be able to get a good run in transit and give his mount every chance of winning. He just needs to go to the next level now.
8. HEROIC SON (9)
2yo C | T: Peter & Will Hulbert | J: Adin Thompson (57kg)
After impressing on debut at Doomben, Peter & Will Hulbert’s colt, Heroic Son, has been a touch disappointing, despite not doing too much wrong. The son of Heroic Valour was grabbed right on the post at his second start on November 13, before failing as a $1.95 favourite on the Sunshine Coast Polytrack, however we can forgive that effort. The colt had a couple of slight setbacks between that run on December 1 and his next start, which ultimately saw him five weeks between runs when fifth in Saturday’s Gold Nugget. The stable’s apprentice rider, Adin Thompson, has been rewarded with the ride again on this colt which is encouraging to see. Not a whole lot went right last time and he was still good to run fifth, so we’re happy to give him the respect he deserves.
9. COOLANGATTA (13)
2yo F | T: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace | J: James Cummings (55kg)
It’s the $2 million question, can Coolangatta justify favouritism? Ciaron Maher, Dvaid Eustace, James McDonald and her group of owners will certainly hope so, as too will thousands of Aussie punters who have no doubt had futures tickets riding on her since that ultra-impressive trial win on September 20. The filly by Written Tycoon has done nothing wrong in her two career starts, winning by 3.4 lengths on debut in the Group 3 Gimcrack Stakes at Randwick, before recording a second Group 3 success in the B.J. McLachlan Stakes at Doomben on Boxing Day. Both of her trials have been impressive, and both of her wins have too, so can she be beaten? Look, probably not, but if we are to find a chink in her armour, she could be trapped wide from the barrier up on the speed, and we weren’t all that convinced after her last-start win, with the form not really stacking up, albeit the runner up coming out and winning a weak maiden at his next start. There’s plenty of expectation on this filly, she has the right man for the job on her back, but she’s a little bit short for us to be super confident, like some people are.
10. SOARING AMBITION (3)
2yo F | T: Annabel Neasham | J: Tommy Berry (55kg)
Soaring Ambition looked to be one of the real dangers to Coolangatta after her brilliant debut victory in the Magic Millions Wyong 2YO Classic, after she came from near last on the turn to loop the field and win by a quarter of a length over Miss Hellfire. She then started short odds on New Year’s Day at Doomben, but after a couple of things went against her, she was only able to manage second behind Golden Artie. That run still had plenty of merit in it, so she can’t be completely dismissed in this race, especially given how good her trainer is. Tommy Berry has opted to stick with this filly over Bright Blue Sky, so that’s a fair indicator, however barrier 20 will ensure their work is cut out. Can she win? Yes, but she needs to be 110% right.
11. RUSSIAN CONQUEST (4)
2yo F | T: Peter & Paul Snowden | J: Kerrin McEvoy (55kg)
We’re prepared to say that the fillies are well and truly better than the boys in this year’s 2YO Classic, as the market suggests, so it could be quite hard to go against Russian Conquest from the Snowden yard. This daughter of Russian Revolution is undefeated in her two starts, winning comfortably on debut in the Max Lees Classic (900m) at Newcastle, before romping in by 3.2 lengths at Randwick on Boxing Day, where she ran just 0.4seconds slower than the Class 3 Handicap on the same day and running home in a very similar Last 600m split. Kerrin McEvoy gets to ride this filly for the first time on Saturday, and while he hasn‘t been in the best form of late, he is a big race rider. From barrier four, this classy filly gets every concievable chance.
12. MISS HELLFIRE (11)
2yo F | T: Peter & Paul Snowden | J: Tim Clark (55kg)
The second of the Snowden fillies in this race is the last-start Aquis Gold Pearl (1100m) winner, Miss Hellfire. The filly gave her sire, Hellbent, his first win as a stallion in Saturday’s race, a race which has proved to be the perfect stepping stone into this race on the following weekend. Miss Hellfire is looking to join Houtzen, Sunlight and Exhilarates on the honour roll of fillies to complete the double, and to be quite honest, we think she can. The filly has shown plenty of tactical speed in both of her runs to date, with her other run seeing her get nutted by Soaring Ambition in the Wyong Magic Millions. Tim Clark, arguably one of the nation’s best front-running jockeys, goes on board for the first time, while she is likely to jump from barrier nine if all five emergencies come out as expected. She is a genuine top three chance.
13. SNEAKY STARTER (10)
2yo F | T: Mick Mair | J: Tiffani Brooker (55kg)
Sneaky Starter lines up here as a $201 outside, despite coming into the race with a 50% winning strike rate to kickstart her career. The Mick Mair-trained Press Statement filly won easily on debut at the Sunshine Coast at the beginning of November, before running fourth in a 2YO Handicap on a metropolitan Saturday at the same track and distance. The filly does boast a victory over Perfect Mission, which is something to keep in mind, but she’s never been beyond 1000m, never been away from the Sunshine Coast, and probably doesn’t have the stamina to maintain a solid 1200m from up on the speed.
14. PERFECT MISSION (14)
2yo F | T: Michael Costa | J: Andrew Mallyon (55kg)
We mentioned Perfect Mission being beaten by Sneaky Starter at the Sunshine Coast, but the Michael Costa-trained filly has come a fair way since then. The daughter of The Mission was dominant when winning by three lengths as a $1.40 favourite on December 26 at this track over the 1100m, before going into last weekend’s Gold Pearl a little underdone according to her trainer. Despite that, she loomed large at the corner and looked as if she was going to go on with it, but she just peaked late and ultimately ran second, with a decent gap back to the third horse. She should take plenty of improvement from that run, and a genuinely run 1200m race is going to suit her racing style. If Andrew Mallyon doesn‘t get caught deep from barrier 14, she will be right there at the business end.
15. SNITCAT (2)
2yo F | T: Gary Portelli | J: Jason Collett (55kg)
In the final field of 16, Snitcat comes into the race as the only maiden. Thanks to running third in the Kirkham Stakes on October 23 and then fifth in the $1 million Golden Gift at Rosehill, this Snitzel filly had enough prizemoney to qualify for the race, and she just might run a race. After settling in the second half of the field in her most recent start, this filly stormed down the middle of the track to finish second to Russian Conquest over 1100m, so she should absolutely eat up a genuinely run 1200m. The couple of issues we have with her though are the fact that she meets the winner of that race 3kg worse, and has to get clear air from barrier two, which could be hard to come by in this big field. She will be finishing off strongly, but we can’t make too strong of a case for her.
Bright Blue Sky
16. BRIGHT BLUE SKY (16)
2yo F | T: Jamie Richards | J: Brett Prebble (55kg)
It’s not too often we see a New Zealand-trained galloper in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic field, so for Jamie Richards and the Te Akau operation to have the belief to send this Fastnet Rock filly over here, it sure is saying something. Bright Blue Sky was a brilliant winner on debut at Listed level in New Zealand, winning by 2.3 lengths in easy style over 1100m. Richards then sent her across the Tasman, where she trialled really well at Rosehill, before being rather disappointing in the B.J. McLachlan. This filly is probably going to have to get back from barrier 16, but given the likely tempo of this race, that may not be a bad thing. What we did like about her most recent start, was that she was getting into her best work late, which was a big positive given that she was five weeks between runs. She needs to improve, but there’s no reason why she can’t.
EMERGENCIES FOR MAGIC MILLIONS 2YO CLASSIC
17EM1. SWISS EXILE (1)
2yo C | T: Annabel Neasham | J: Hugh Bowman (57kg)
After a brilliant third on debut, Swiss Exile was right at the pointy end of this market, but he just hasn’t been able to really go on with it. He did run third to Coolangatta in the B.J., but he was only battling, before being really plain as favourite in the Gold Nugget on Saturday. He’s the best chance of the five emergencies, but we couldn’t include him.
18EM2. SPANISH ANGELS (18)
2yo F | T: Les Ross | J: TBA (55kg)
She couldn’t win at Ipswich last start as favourite, she won’t be winning here.
19EM3. REVOLUTIONARY MISS (8)
2yo F | T: Peter & Paul Snowden | J: TBA (55kg)
This filly ran second in her only start as a $61 chance, hitting the line nicely. We can’t have her, but she’d likely hold her own.
20EM4. WILD BOTANICA (15)
2yo F | T: Kacy Fogden | J: TBA (55kg)
This filly ran seventh behind Coolangatta on debut and was then given a galloping lesson by Perfect Mission at the Gold Coast, so we’re not sure how she would be able to stay in contact with some of these.
21EM5. RUSSIAN WARRIOR (12)
2yo F | T: Alan Chau | J: TBA (55kg)
Russian Warrior was a really tough winner at this track and trip on December 18, before running a terrific fifth to Golden Artie in a 2YO Handicap at Doomben. She will be a nice filly to follow going forward, but gaining a start as fifth emergency seems unlikely. Follow where she goes next though at 1200m or 1400m.
Magic Millions 2YO Classic Betting Tips
We are sensing an upset win on Saturday, so we are going to share the love around three fillies and hope that one of them can beat the raging favourite. If Michael Costa is right and his filly Perfect Mission has jumped out of the ground since her runner-up effort on Saturday, she could be the one getting the perfect run in the race and just getting past the tiring leaders in the concluding stages. While Perfect Mission will need luck from gate 14, Russian Conquest won’t need any of that from barrier four, giving Kerrin McEvoy a huge chance of keeping this fillies’ undefeated record in-tact. Miss Hellfire brings strong form-lines around Soaring Ambition and Perfect Mission, while she will comes off a win in a historically good form race. The blatantly obvious selection to include in every multiple is Coolangatta, for all reasons outlined; we just don’t want to be taking odds-on in a race of this nature.
|Magic Millions 2YO Classic $100 betting strategy|
|$20 each way||Perfect Mission|
|$15 each way||Russian Conquest|
|$15 each way||Miss Hellfire|