Sunlight forecast to shine in Magic Millions 2YO Classic
HORSE RACING: All eyes will be on the Gold Coast this Saturday for the rich Magic Millions meeting and heading the program is the $2 million 2YO Classic (1200m).
A capacity field of 16 will step out and provided there aren't any scratchings the line-up will contain an even split of eight males and eight fillies. There are eight last-start winners among them, including market leaders Ef Troop, Jonker, and Sunlight.
There are some scattered showers predicted for Friday but the forecast is mostly hot and dry, so the track is likely to be a Good 3 on race day. The rail will be out 1m from the 1000-400m and in the true position for the remainder of the course.
No surprise that there's plenty of pace engaged and it's drawn across the park. Ef Troop will power forward from out wide, with quick filly Sunlight likely to try and track him. Secret Lady, who is drawn inside that duo, has good early pace while Nomothaj (and potentially a few others) is capable of being handy. Jonker is no slouch and jockey Hugh Bowman is likely to try and find a trailing position forward of mid-field.
Sunlight (11) is the clear top seed of the eight fillies and she should feel right at home this weekend after recording big wins at the Gold Coast in her past two starts. The most recent of those was on Saturday over 1100m, where she led all the way and set a new class record of 1.02.48 when obliterating her rivals by 4.5L. Luke Currie was easy on her through the line and she gives the impression that an extra 100m won't worry her. Recent winners Houtzen (2017) and Le Chef (2015) both came through the same lead-up race on a seven-day back-up.
The Tony McEvoy-trained daughter of Zoustar looks a professional two-year-old and she should be cherry ripe for the grand final third-up on Saturday. While she was defeated by one of Saturday's rivals Nomothaj on debut in October, a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. Barrier 15 will become 12 provided the emergencies are scratched and with her early speed, she can potentially jump on the back of likely leader Ef Troop (drawn outside Sunlight).
Ef Troop (2), a Tony Gollan-trained son of Spirit Of Boom, is flying the flag for the Queenslanders and he'll certainly be flying early. The gelding has shown he can muster pace quickly in two unbeaten starts to date and he's likely to try and cross from the wide gate (barrier 13 if the emergencies are scratched) under Matt McGillivray. How much work will he have to do to find the front? That's a slight query but he's an exciting jump-and-run two-year-old and may be both quick and good enough to do a Houtzen and lead all the way.
Ef Troop's most recent start was at Doomben on December 16 when he made the Listed Phelan Ready Stakes (1110m) a one-act affair as he bolted in by 5.3L. His time of 1.03.69 was significantly quicker than what stablemate Outback Barbie clocked (1.04.32) when winning the Calaway Gal Stakes over the same trip on that day. He won an 800m jump-out on the Eagle Farm A-grass on Friday to tune up for Saturday.
Jonker (1) is undefeated from two starts and arrives at the Gold Coast on the back of victory in last month's Wyong Magic Millions Classic (1100m), which was a successful lead-up formula for recent Millions winners Capitalist (2016) and Unencumbered (2014). The Spirit Of Boom colt has been ridden by Aaron Bullock previously but champion jockey Hugh Bowman will jump aboard for Saturday's assignment, which should begin from gate two once the emergencies come out. He took a sit before letting down to win by 4.15L at Wyong and it seems probable that Bowman will try and replicate that strategy.
Nomothaj (12) hasn't raced since October but on that day she beat Sunlight by more than a length when winning the Maribyrnong Trial Stakes (1000m) down the Flemington straight. It would be a fair effort to travel to the Gold Coast and win a 1200m race of this calibre first-up but she's clearly got ability and the Lindsay Park team know how to get two-year-olds firing. The daughter of Snitzel has trialled twice in Sydney in preparation for the first-up task, having won her most recent hit-out over 1045m despite travelling wide.
Outback Barbie (13) trialled well alongside Sunlight in December before scoring on debut in the Calaway Gal Stakes (1110m). She'll take improvement from her first day at the races and is drawn to get a soft run in transit. She's currently $26 and could be worth considering for exotics and quaddies.
11. Sunlight to win ($4.50 best price at time of publication).
Predicted finishing order
2. Ef Troop
12. Nomothaj ($11 best price at time of publication).
13. Outback Barbie ($26 best price at time of publication).