Bart’s Racing News – Magic Millions Raceday

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

THE make-up of this year’s Magic Millions Classic field – and the recent results of this rich juvenile event – suggest the fillies hold a slight advantage. The final field of 16 boasts an even split by sex. In the past 12 years the MM Classic has been won eight times by a filly. Under the set weight conditions colts and gelding carry 57kg while fillies are granted a 2kg allowance as per the industry standard weight-for-age scale. 

From 2010 to 2013 there was a run of four straight victories to the girls with Military Rose, Karuta Queen, Driefontein and Real Surreal. Then came three straight male successes through Unencumbered, Le Chef and Capitalist. Last year it was back to a filly with the dominant Houtzen. This year the eight fillies are spearheaded in the pre-post market by the Tony McEvoy-trained Sunlight who has been most dominant in her two recent lead-up wins at the Gold Coast track.

The other great pre-post talking point each year is the barrier draw. It’s a natural trend to consider an inside draw should be a significant advantage around a reasonably tight course. But statistically it’s not always the case. Ten MM Classic winners have come from double digit gate positions. However wisdom favours a single digit gate. If the emergencies do not gain a start Sunlight will jump from barrier 12 with the top fancy EF Troop to her immediate outside. Both these youngsters have brilliant gate speed and with another fast beginner Jonker, drawn to jump from gate two the early pressure will be hot. A definite consideration for punters is how the young horses cope with the hype – and heat – of the MM raceday.

Ef Troop has made great strides in the way he has responded to trainer Tony Gollan’s strategy to make him more composed in his racing pattern. He needs to be relaxed pre-race and when the gates open to conserve his energy for the inevitable slog down the home straight. His stablemate Outback Barbie appeals as the best roughie. She should get a nice trail on the speed and will be up for the fight in the final 300 metres as she was in her debut win over 1110 metres at Doomben on December 16.

It is undoubtedly the most open MM Classic field for a long time. Possibly the toughest to predict in the 30 year history of the race. Finally watch for the last minute market move. The favourite has won six of the past eight years.