Written by Anthony Manton
He may not have even raced yet but Sydney trial-watchers are spruiking a Greg Hickman-trained Fastnet Rock gelding to be a major player come Magic Millions time early January on the Gold Coast.
Eleven Eleven (Fastnet Rock) was purchased earlier this year at 2018 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sales for $230,000 by Hickman to be raced by a group of clients.
Hickman has had great success travelling to the Gold Coast chasing the big prize money in recent years. In 2017 Private Secretary (Husson) won the $1 million Magic Millions Plate for Fillies & Mares, while earlier this year Pierata (Pierro) won the $2 million 3 year-old Magic Millions Guineas.
It looks as though Hickman will be headed back to the Gold Coast early in the New Year with Eleven Eleven for the rich Magic Millions 2 year-old Classic after he has impressed in his two barrier trials.
Eleven Eleven stepped out on his home track at Warwick Farm on October 23 for this first public trial. After missing the start by a length, Eleven Eleven settled well back in the small field and came with a wide run on the turn before running down the leaders the last 100 metres to win under no pressure.
At his second trial at Canterbury yesterday, he was again a little slow to begin but recovered quickly to lead the field easily. Although a little wayward rounding the home turn, once Tommy Berry straightened him up and asked for an effort Eleven Eleven, accelerated away before easing up the late to win again impressively.
Despite winning both his trials Hickman believes he’s still got a bit to learn.
“He raced through the bridle with the blinkers on for the first time and wobbled around the turn at Canterbury, he’s still got a bit to learn."
"He’s still got a bit to learn." - Greg Hickman
“Once Tommy [Berry] asked him to put his mind on the job he did exactly what was asked of him”, said Hickman.
Eleven Eleven is from the dam Smokin’ Alice (Smoke Glacken) an American-bred mare who won six races in USA from 6f to 8 ¾f (1200 metres to 1750 metres) with the family extending back to Group 1-winning brothers Criterion (Sebring) and Comin’ Through (Fastnet Rock).
The decision to geld Eleven Eleven was made early to get the best out of him long term.
“We gelded him very early on. It’s always a big call to make but he’s a bit of a handful and by gelding him we’re going to get the best out of him and he’ll be a better three year-old as well," said Hickman.
Eleven Eleven will follow a similar path to Pierata campaigning in Queensland throughout the summer. He will make his race debut at Doomben on December 1 in the Sizzling Plate 1050 metres, the first race of the 2 year-old Crown series comprising five races throughout December and January, culminating in the 2 year-old Magic Millions Classic at The Gold Coast on January 12.
Any horse that can win three or more legs of the five-race series will collect a $500,000 bonus. Pierata achieved this by winning three legs of 3-year-old race series late last year including the 3 year-old Magic Millions Guineas in early January.
“We’ll repeat what we’ve done before. It has worked for us the last few years and our horses seem to thrive in Queensland that time of year." - Greg Hickman
With big-race success campaigning horses in Queensland the last two years in particular Hickman won’t be changing what has proven to be a winning formula.
“We’ll repeat what we’ve done before. It has worked for us the last few years and our horses seem to thrive in Queensland that time of year," said Hickman.