Magic moment for Forster and Du Plessis
Trainer Desleigh Forster and jockey Mark Du Plessis celebrated one of their great successes when Chapter And Verse (Rothesay) won the $1m Racing Queensland Magic Millions QTIS Open at the Gold Coast.
It was a truly emotional success for all involved with the horse bred by the Nolan family at their Raheen Stud. Raheen manager Basil Nolan Jr was killed in a tragic accident in November and Forster's immediate thoughts were for his family.
“It’s a bit tough this one, Basil and Di Nolan bred this horse and they’ve done a fair bit for me,” she said.
The Eagle Farm based-trainer secured Chapter and Verse for $28,000 at the 2016 Magic Millions Gold Coast March Yearling Sale and he has now won over $745,000.
“This is unbelievable,” Forster said. “These sort of races don’t come around often and this little horse is just an absolute gem."
“No jokes aside, two runs ago he got a cold when Cadogan went past him and then we took him home and he was probably just unlucky the other day."
Veteran South African-born hoop Du Plessis was delighted to celebrate his biggest win in Australia
“There will be a handful of people in my life that will know how I’m feeling right now, to get a big one in Australia, it’s what I’ve always wanted to do,” Du Plessis said.
“Des has been a really good supporter of mine since I got here and to be honest, she was a big influence in me staying (in Queensland) so to do this for her and her owners is indescribable.”
Waller laps up another Magic double
Chris Waller notched a rare double-double at the Gold Coast when Invincibella (I Am Invincible) and Tumultuous (Fastnet Rock) went back-to-back in the Magic Millions Fillies and Mares and the Magic Millions Trophy respectively.
Class mare Invincibella proved too good for her rivals for the second straight year, with Hugh Bowman bringing her home late to beat Manicure (Exceed and Excel), with Magic Alibi (Star Witness) third.
“Hugh Bowman gave her a lovely ride from a good barrier and with the small margin, I think that was the difference in the finish,” Waller said.
“She’s got a bit of class, it was good to see her get the upper hand over the last 50m.
“It’s a great day to be training winners.”
Earlier, Tumultuous, who hadn’t won in 12 months since his win in this race last year, got the inside run to beat Goodfella (Snitzel) and Black On Gold (Sebring).
Waller said the fact that Tumultous had turned a $350,000 purchase price into over $1.4m in prizemoney was a great advertisement for Magic Millions.
“Not just is it a big payday for owners, connections and breeders but it’s a great party for the locals and people coming from all across Australia and even around the world,” Waller said.
“To win a race, it lets people know that you’re out there and doing your job.”
Patience pats for Baker
Egyptian Symbol (Stratum) repaid trainer Bjorn Baker's persistence to win on Magic Millions Day at the fourth time of asking, taking out the It's Live! in Queensland Magic Millions Snippets (1200m).
Having finished third, sixth and third in Magic Millions races the past three years, it was Egyptian Symbol's day as she proved too strong late to win by 0.75l.
“She’s been a stalwart, this is the fourth year she’s been back,” Baker said. I think she was a little unlucky in the three-year-old race and it looked like she might have been unlucky today but it was a great ride by Jason (Collett) ."
“There are a lot of ways to skin a cat but I think I finally got it right, fresh is key and it worked out brilliantly today.
“You buy horses at this carnival so you can come back every year and you’re running for a million dollars.”
Baker's day would get even better when Redouble (Redoute's Choice) claimed the Woodford Reserve Magic Millions Cup.
Meech creates Randwick history
Star Fall's (Zoustar) win at Randwick provided a piece of NSW racing history as Linda Meech became the first dual licence holder to ride a winner in the state.
Dual licence holders were only permitted to ride from January 1 and Meech, who trains a small stable of her own at Stawell, blazed the trail aboard the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Star Fall, who won the January Hcp.
She then backed that up by winning the TAB Highway Hcp on Smart As (Exceed and Excel) in the next race.
"It's my first time at Randwick for a long time," Meech said after Star Fall's win. "It's good to see some familiar faces and it hasn't changed since the last time I was here."
"Hopefully now I will be able to come back more often. I came up here to be a jockey today and this is a very nice horse."
Meech could be set to spend more time in Sydney with Maher and Eustace confirming this week they are setting up a permanent base at Warwick Farm.
In-form apprentice Robbie Dolan ride a treble at the meeting.
Guineas goal for Eurell winner
Trainer Greg Eurell has G1 Australian Guineas plans for O'Tauto (O'Lonhro) after his hard-fought win at Flemington on Saturday.
O'Tauto looked a little flat-footed early in the straight, but dug deep under Damien Oliver to register his second win in four starts.
"I was starting to get a bit worried off the turn there as Damien had to jazz him up a bit and get him into the race, but he’s such a horse that’s very laid back and is still so green and has a lot to learn but he can still put in the big ones when he needs to," Eurell said.
"I think stepping up to 1600 metres will suit him a lot better and racing is only going to help improve this horse so I look forward to the future."
"He’s so new and very inexperienced this horse, he can only keep improving."
The March 2 Group 1 feature on Flemington is something Eurell has earmarked as his target this campaign.
"We were sort of hoping we might get to the Guineas with him if he keeps improving," he said.
"I think he’s the real deal this horse. I just like what he does. He’s a lovely, sound horse and a good horse to work with and is very consistent, which is an asset."