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David Hayes knows history is against him but he also knows what he has got in Snitzel filly Nomothaj heading into Saturday’s Magic Millions Classic at the Gold Coast.
The winner of the Maribyrnong Trial Stakes at her only start in October, Nomothaj arrives at the Magic Millions having beaten favourite Sunlight, and is on the fresh side by design.
“No horse has won it first-up but not many have tried,” Hayes said. “Once we won that race at Flemington, it was the plan to be here for her next start.
“We have designed her program to make sure she can go on into the autumn because she is a high-quality filly that is only going to get better and might step out in trip a bit.
“She tried to throw it away at Flemington by stargazing when she hit the front and we knew she would be better with blinkers, so we had those up our sleeve for the Magic Millions.”
Hayes kept Nomothaj in work at Euroa before completing her Magic Millions preparation at his Randwick stable.
“We took her to Sydney and gave her her first trial without the blinkers just to get her ready for a race simulation in her second trial,” Hayes said.
“When we put the blinkers on her the other day, she just raced away from them. It was as good as having a run and exactly what we thought would happen.”
While Sunlight is the $4 favourite at Ladbrokes, Nomothaj is a $10 chance, even though she had 1-1/4 lengths to spare on her at Flemington.
“I can’t believe the price. I think we should be much closer in the betting to Sunlight. She deserved to be favourite on what she has done since but I think they are forgetting we beat her,” Hayes said.
Meanwhile, Ballarat trainer Matt Cumani is waiting for Anthemoessa to arrive on the Gold Coast for Saturday’s Magic Millions Classic after being bumped off planes from Melbourne for the past couple of days.
“We have been told she will get here on Thursday night with a couple of other horses. It is not ideal,” Cumani said.
Anthemoessa has to be within 200km of the Gold Coast track by noon on Friday or she will be scratched by stewards.
The Magic Millions Classic field were inspected by Racing Queensland vets on Thursday, with Quackerjack and first emergency Paquirri facing a second inspection to prove their fitness on Friday.
Magic Millions Guineas favourite Pierata also will be inspected on Friday after being judged to be short in his action by vets on Thursday. The Greg Hickman-trained three-year-old is a $2.60 favourite and is racing for $500,000 on top of the $1.2 million first prize on Saturday.
“He is ready to go but vets didn’t like something,” Hickman said. “I was a bit nervous because you don’t race for that sort of money every day and this has just made it worse.”
Meanwhile, American Jon Kelly paid a sale-topping $2 million for an I Am Invincible colt out of the Morphettville Guineas winner Tai Tai Tess on Friday, which he described as the standout of the sales.
“It was an easy choice but I didn’t want to pay that much – we were on budget at one point,” Kelly said. “It’s delightful to see a horse with everything, he has a real presence.”
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