Jockey Michael Rodd has declared Saturday’s $125,000 Aquis Gold Nugget the “acid test” for promising colt Headlander with a potential Magic Millions 2YO Classic berth up for grabs.
The Kelly Schweida-trained two-year-old has a first and a third from two career starts and needs to win on Saturday to secure a place in the $2 million dollar Magic Millions feature on January 16.
“This is his acid test Saturday, up against some of these better two-year-olds and there’s a few scrambling trying to get in the Millions and get their prizemoney up, so it’s a very competitive little race, but he’s drawn well and will take up a position in the first half of the field and see how he goes,” Rodd said.
Rodd partnered the Better Than Ready colt in his 3L victory at the Sunshine Coast on December 27 in an 1100m maiden. After jumping well from barrier four, Rodd took him straight to the front, dictated terms and put them to the sword late.
“He’s a beautiful colt this one. He was really dominant when he won,” Rodd said.
With the Queensland Summer Racing Carnival in full swing, Rodd, like most jockeys has his sights set on next Saturday’s Gold Coast Magic Millions Race Day. He has no mount in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic, but is hopeful that Headlander could fill that void after Saturday.
Rodd has been victorious in the 2YO Magic Millions Classic in the past, winning in 2003 aboard Regimental Gal, so he knows what it takes to win the feature sprint.
Rodd started riding in Queensland in 2000, before moving to Hong Kong in 2004,but has been back to Queensland to takeout some of racing’s highest honours, including multiple Queensland Derbies and a Doomben 10,000 aboard Spirit Of Boom.
Given he did up his apprenticeship on the Gold Coast, Rodd would love to win the 3YO Magic Millions Guineas, which is a race that has eluded him in the past, but he has even bigger sights set over the coming months.
Rodd, 38, said the Stradbroke Handicap, which will be run at Eagle Farm on June 5, was another race that he would love to win before his career is out.
“It’s a race that I’ve gone up wanting to win when I was apprenticed here and thought that was in my grasp,” he said.
“I’ve had plenty of goes at it and I think I’ve finished in every position bar winning it.
“It’s the best race here in Queensland, so hopefully before I finish I canget one.”
Michael has ridden 34 Australian Group 1 winners to date so he is a huge boost to the Queensland jockey ranks. He hasn’t mucked around since returning to the Sunshine State, with eight winners from his last 50 rides.