Written by Georgie Dennis
If Baby Wong (Press Statement) is to win the R. Listed Magic Millions 2YO Classic on Saturday, it would provide Scone trainer Stephen Jones with one of his biggest days on a race track.
The 2-year-old colt is not without a chance wither, having finished fourth in the Max Lees 2YO Classic on debut, before finishing second at Doomben, third in the Listed Phelan Ready S. and second in the G3 BJ McLachlan S. at his most recent start.
“We’re going into the race pretty confident,” Jones told TDN AusNZ. “He’s been unlucky in a lot of his runs and that’s probably the key to it all, we just need a bit of luck in the run.
“We’ve got the right jockey on (Nash Rawiller) and I think he’ll be very competitive.”
Further assisting Baby Wong’s chances is that he has drawn an ideal barrier of six and Jones believes that will allow him to get a comfortable run in transit.
“I think there’s a few that will go very quick and we’ll be straight behind them,” the trainer said.
Baby Wong was offered in the Baramul Stud draft at Book 2 of last year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale where he passed in for $72,500.
Having trained Baby Wong’s older half-brother Mr Wong (Mossman), and having a nice opinion of him, Jones took the opportunity to strike a deal to buy the son of Press Statement and syndicate him to a group of loyal clients.
“I’ve got a number of my clients involved in the horse, they’re just working people but they were lucky enough that I talked them into going into him,” Jones said.
“I have got a horse called Mr Wong, which I’ve got a big opinion of. He’s got a few issues and we were setting him for some higher grade races in Sydney. He’s won in Sydney and as I said, if he was right sound-wise, he’d be a top liner.
“So out of that mare, when this one came about and was passed in, I went and grabbed him and syndicated him myself.”
"When this one (Baby Wong) came about and was passed in, I went and grabbed him and syndicated him myself.” - Stephen Jones
It didn’t take long for Jones to realise Baby Wong was special either, as the colt took out an official trial at Scone against older horses at his first major outing.
“As soon as I trialled him, his was brilliant,” Jones said. “It was only at Scone but it was against horses that had won races and he was a green 2-year-old at that time.
“His trial was sensational so he ticked all the boxes and we knew we had something at that stage.
“Aaron Bullock (jockey) got off him and he said ‘this is a machine’. He said it was a top horse and he wanted to stay with him but with COVID-19 restrictions, he hasn’t been able to.”
Jones came within 1l of winning the rich juvenile race back in 1996 when Our Banker (Table Limit) finished second to Winger Charger (Archregent), but he said to win it this year with Baby Wong would mean everything to him.
“I’ve run second in a Magic Millions and just to complete the dots, it would mean everything to me,” he said.