Daily News Wrap

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Barbie gets gun draw

Tony Gollan’s confidence was boosted after Outback Barbie (Spirit Of Boom) drew ideally in gate two for the $2 million Magic Millions Guineas at the Gold Coast,

The filly has numerous black-type placings and her share of bad luck, including a third in last year's Magic Millions 2YO Classic and sixth in the Vo Rogue Plate two weeks ago.

In the Vo Rogue, she was well beaten but virtually lost her chance when another runner close to her fell mid-race.

“In the Vo Rogue we had to go back from a wide barrier and she had no luck, but we will be able to ride her a lot closer on Saturday,” Gollan said.

“She has been prepared for the 1400 metres on Saturday and she worked strongly on Tuesday morning. With James McDonald in the saddle I am looking forward to Saturday.”

Gollan warned that his other runner, Light Up The Room (So You Think), should not be written after she drew barrier nine.

“She will come in a couple after scratchings and I have been really pleased with her work. She is a good chance at $17,” he said.

Maher not Dubious on Millions hope

Co-trainer Ciaron Maher's confidence in his Magic Millions 2YO Classic colt Dubious (Not A Single Doubt) grew considerably after he drew barrier seven.

The unbeaten 2-year-old, a winner of the G3 Breeders' Plate in September, is now equal favourite for the race after Maher's mother Eileen, a part-owner in the horse, came up with barrier 7 at the draw.

Maher said the horse has taken substantial improvement off his recent win at Eagle Farm and now with a positive barrier, the preparations have progressed perfectly.

“That (Eagle Farm) run really brought him on, I really wanted to go from the 1000m to progress to the 1200m and I thought three weeks into the Magic Millions was perfect timing," he said.

“He is very clean-winded, he would hardly blow a candle out after a gallop this morning."

“I’m wrapped (with the barrier draw), Mum Eileen did a super job, she certainly took her time but she got the job done.”

Exhilarates (Snitzel) is the other favourite for the race after drawing in barrier nine.

Unite And Conquer (Hinchinbrook) came up with barrier 18 and drifted out from favouritism along with Yes Yes Yes (Rubick), who will have to contend with the outside barrier.

Derby hope back on track

Classic hopes for Ridgewood Drive (Sebring) will again be tested at Caulfield.

The Anthony Freedman-trained half-brother to the G1 Queensland Derby winner Sonntag (Teofilo {IRE}) broke his maiden at his second start at Sandown and is set to back up a week later in Wednesday's Ladbrokes Multiverse H. at Caulfield.

“We haven't done a lot with him between runs. He's pretty fit now and he will appreciate the extra distance,” Freedman's racing manager, Brad Taylor, said.

“He has got a little bit of an awkward barrier (seven), but he puts himself near enough to the speed so if he can get a nice enough run in behind them he looks a nice chance.

“He's a half-brother to a Derby winner so he's certainly going to appreciate getting up over a little bit further and once he gets up to 2000 metres and further you are going to probably see an even better horse.”

Taylor said the plan was to give Ridgewood Drive a freshen-up after Wednesday before setting the gelding on a Derby path.

“I don't know what Derby yet but there are plenty of options through the autumn and into winter,” he said.

“There's South Australia and Queensland and all of them will be considered. “

Meanwhile, Taylor said the stable's multiple Group 1 winners Santa Ana Lane (Lope De Vega {IRE}) and Shoals (Fastnet Rock) had both returned to work in good order.

“They spelled really well and they had their first gallops back this week,” he said.

Bullish despite no lead-up outing

Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman are disappointed they haven’t been able to give last-start winner Madison County (NZ) (Pins) a lead-in run ahead of Saturday’s G1 Levin Classic at Trentham.

He hasn’t raced since successful in the G1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas at Riccarton in November, but his connections remain upbeat about his chances heading into the race.

Madison County

“He’s had a gallop between races. We’ve got him as fit as we can, but unfortunately there wasn’t a 1400m lead-in race,” Baker said.

“We didn’t want to trial him at Cambridge on Tuesday because it was too close to the race, but we’re happy enough with him though.”

Madison County was purchased out of Waikato Stud’s 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Select Yearling Sale draft by the China Horse Club for NZ$36,000 and is being set for a tilt at the Karaka Million 3YO Classic at Ellerslie later this month.

“His main target for the summer is the million dollar race,” Baker said. “He shapes up alright, he doesn’t do a lot on the track, so he’s a hard horse to get a line on.

“In the same token, he doesn’t need a lot because he’s not a big heavy horse, he’s lighter framed.”

The Baker-Forsman stable will also line-up stakes-winning filly Espresso Martini (NZ) (High Chaparral {Ire}) in the Levin Classic.

She finished fifth in the G2 Eight Carat Classic on a heavy10 track at Ellerslie on Boxing Day and Baker believes she will appreciate firmer track conditions at Trentham on Saturday.

Rain to ideally suit veteran

Victorian sprinter Jungle Edge (Dubawi {IRE}) will resume in the Summer Sprint at Randwick.

With Randwick a soft 6 on Tuesday and thunderstorms predicted up to Saturday's race meeting, trainer Mick Bell has decided the 8-year-old can begin his next campaign a little earlier than planned.

Bell is not critical of Victorian tracks which have come under fire recently for being firm, they just don't suit his stable star.

“Of the four metropolitan tracks, Sandown is the one he's most suited to but they mostly run benchmark races there and he's beyond those,” Bell said.

“He goes well in Sydney and the tracks are softer for him. I've always trained him around the weather.

“He hasn't had a trial which I would normally give him but he has residual fitness from his last campaign.

“I would say he would do just about all his future racing in Sydney. The prize money is good and they pay down to 10th and the tracks are more likely to suit him.”

Jungle Edge has been given 64.5kg with claiming apprentice Chelsea Hall booked to ride, bringing him down to 61.5kg for what will be his first start since he won over 1200 metres at Ballarat in November.

Stayer pleases at trials

Group 1 performer Charles Road (Myboycharlie {Ire}) pleased connections with his 1200 metre trial at Cambridge on Tuesday.

The Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott-trained runner did everything asked of him by jockey Taiki Yanagida, sitting off the pace throughout and eased to the line comfortably in his first hit-out of the summer.

“We’re really pleased with him, he came back with a good bit of energy,” Scott said.

“He only had a very quiet trial, but he eased to the line under a nice rein and a good stride and we couldn’t have been more pleased with him.”

Charles Road, who raced in Australia under the prefix Sir, is likely to be aimed at the G1 Herbie Dyke S. at Te Rapa next month.

“His first initial goal will be the Herbie Dyke and then we will look to head toward the Ellerslie Carnival in March,” Scott said.