Quackerjack wins earns Magic Millions Classic start

Quackerjack winning at Kembla Grange on 16th December 2017 (photo: Bradley Photos).

Mark Newnham rode the first horse ever raced by Frank Mittiga, and 17 years later he has an opportunity to train another Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner for his long-time supporter.

Quackerjack needed to win the New Years Day At Royal Randwick Plate (1100m) to earn a trip to the Gold Coast and the $240,000 Not A Single Doubt colt achieved that aim with a devastating late burst as a $21 outsider.

“He’s always had enough talent, he was just getting a bit lost with things,” Newnham said.

Quackerjack endured a luckless initiation in the Listed Breeders’ Plate on debut in September, but made a triumphant return to Randwick after a morale-boosting win at Kembla Grange a fortnight ago.

Koby Jennings positioned Quackerjack perfectly before he reeled in $3.36 favourite Secret Lady ($3.60) to win by half-a-length.

Everard ($41) filled out the minor placings three-quarters of a length further back.

“Nothing went right for him in an above average Breeders’ Plate and although he ran last I wasn’t devastated,” Newnham said.

“This preparation has been about building his confidence, Kembla helped that process and he brought his A-game here today.”

Quackerjack secured a start in the 16-strong $2m Magic Millions 2YO Classic field with the $53,375 winners’ cheque and has shortened from a $101 chance to $15 on a revised TAB market.

Success on the Gold Coast would be the highlight of a relationship that stems back to flop Veandertaine’s only start at Kembla Grange in 2001.

“I rode Frank’s first ever race horse. I got off and said ‘this is very slow, get rid of it’ and we’ve been mate’s ever since,” Newnham said.

Mittiga still claimed the Magic Millions 2YO Classic that year with the Gai Waterhouse-trained eventual Epsom Handicap winner Excellerator.

Newnham, who started training after working with Waterhouse, had Mittiga alongside when Quackerjack was his first purchase on the Gold Coast in January.

“Frank was sitting with me and giving an extra push here and there to keep bidding. He took a fair chunk of him straight away so it made my job easier,” Newnham said.

“Being my first year buying there i needed to buy a two-year-old type. I was only able to buy a couple of horses and he was my main pick.”

Quackerjack joins stablemate and $2m Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (1400m) contender Super Ex on the Gold Coast next week.

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