Hayes hopes Magic Millions drought is over
Trainer David Hayes reckons he’s overdue to win a Magic Millions Classic and hopes a lack of pressure on the stable this year could help break the drought in the $2 million feature at the Gold Coast on Saturday.
Hayes has two definite starters in Red Belly Black and Ebony Rock in the Magic Millions Classic (1200m) and could have a third runner if first emergency, Tricarico, makes the field.
Hayes has been in the runners-up stall on four occasions in the 1200-metre Magic Millions Classic and concedes none of this year’s trio are in the same class as his previous beaten brigade.
His previous prizemoney earners were Mahaasin (1990), St Covet (1994), Churchill Downs (2006) and Husson Lightning (2007).
"I’m overdue for a win in this race," Hayes said.
"I’ve been runner-up four times and it’ll be nice to win for a change.
"Churchill Downs and St Covet were a grade above this lot and Husson Lightning went into his Magic Millions after winning the Maribyrnong Plate at Flemington."
Hayes rated Red Belly Black, who drew perfectly in gate six at Tuesday’s barrier draw, as his pick over Ebony Rock, barrier two, and Tricarico, gate 20.
Red Belly Black, a daughter of Rock Of Gibraltar, came from last to win her only start at Flemington on December 12 while Ebony Rock has been placed in three of his four starts including his only start right-handed when third to Triple Crown at Randwick on Boxing Day.
"They are all on the way up and will be better over further but Red Belly Black is the best of my runners," Hayes said.
"It’s a high-pressure race which normally suits sweepers like mine are, so alleys were never going to be a problem.
"So long as they get a trouble free-run in the straight and come down the centre of the track I’ll be happy."
Sydney filly Ambers Waltz was the early favourite prior to the barrier draw but her hopes slumped after drawing barrier 17 while Toowoomba colt Spirit Of Boom will jump from gate 13.
Unbeaten Military Rose, a Stathi Katsidis mount, drew ideally in barrier four for trainer Gillian Heinrich.
While Hayes is yet to claim a Magic Millions, Gai Waterhouse is bidding for her fourth victory with her two runners being Wyong Classic winner Brightexpectations, barrier 15, and Extreme Mover who drew just outside in 16.
Waterhouse won her first Magic Millions Classic with Assertive Lad in 2000 and followed up the next year with Excellerator while Dance Hero was successful in 2004.
The Magic Millions Trophy draw threw up few surprises with the three leading fancies all drawing 10 or inside.
Joint favourites Love Conquers All and Shoot Out drew barriers five and seven respectively while second pick Graceful Anna will jump from gate 10.
Toowoomba three-year-old Choistar, a Brad Pengelly mount, drew barrier four but will shorten considerably in betting if the track, which is currently rated dead, is further rain affected.
In the $500,000 Magic Millions Cup (1400m), the John Hawkes-trained topweight O’Lonhro drew in the middle of the pack in barrier nine while last year’s Magic Millions Trophy winner Heart Of The Citi drew gate three and stablemate Hard To Catch barrier five.
The Con Karakatsanis-trained Mr Slick, who was formerly trained on the Gold Coast, drew gate 13 while Nick Olive’s Voice Commander fared poorly with 17.
By Glenn Davis