14 December 2016

LEADING northern NSW trainer Matthew Dunn has two last start winners entered for the Phelan Ready Stakes (Listed, 1110m) at Doomben on Saturday, but revealed only one of his two-year-olds would run in the important lead up to the Magic Millions 2YO Classic (RL,1200m).

Dunn has debut winner Arrestar (Star Witness) and Saxton Rock (Snitzel), who won at his second start, entered for the $100,000 race but one would be saved for a 2YO Handicap (1050m) at Doomben on 24 December.

“That’s the plan. I’m kind of hoping they’ve already got enough prize money to get into the Magic Millions, but I want to make sure of it,” Dunn told ANZ Bloodstock News yesterday.

“The one who draws the best gate will run as there’s nothing between them. They galloped together this morning and there was about a metre and a half between them, if that, so one will run this Saturday and I will hold the other one over until the following Saturday.”

Arrestar, a $110,000 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale purchase from the Widden Stud draft by bloodstock agent Neil Jenkinson, won on debut over 1000 metres at Eagle Farm on 29 October.

Saxton Rock finished eighth in the same race, also on debut, before improving second up to win over 1050 metres at Doomben on 12 November by one and a half lengths.

The colt was also bought by Jenkinson at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, purchased for $150,000 from the Luskin Park draft.

“That was the only difference first up in that Arrestar did everything right and Saxton Rock didn’t,” the Murwillumbah-based trainer said.

“Saxton Rock needed that extra run for the experience, that’s why he went around again. He was horribly disappointing first up, so we just wanted to make sure we got him back to where he needed to be. “He’s achieved that now.”

Saxton Rock and Arrestar are currently equal tenth in the order of entry for the Magic Millions 2YO Classic, while the Tony McEvoy trained Despatch (Written Tycoon) is leading the ballot order.

Dunn said it was likely the pair would have just one start leading into the $2,000,000 race at the Gold Coast on 14 January.

“They probably only need one run and go straight into the Magic Millions, but if they need a little bit more money to gain a start I’ve even got the option of taking them down to the Northern Rivers (of NSW) to give them an easy kill to grab a bit more prize money,” he said.

“We’ll just take it as comes a bit.”

Jockey Robbie Fradd rode both colts to victory and will partner whichever two-year-old runs at Doomben on Saturday.

Dunn said the pair had enjoyed two weeks in the paddock after their respective runs and had freshened up well.

“They both had a short break after they ran and that was always the plan to get enough prize money then have a couple of weeks off, which they’ve both had,” he said.

“They didn’t need (the time off) but it’s probably helped them. “Saxton Rock is doing a little bit on raw ability at the moment and there’s not enough of him (strength wise) just yet, but they’ve certainly both got talent. “There wins weren’t flukes.”

Despatch, who won the Magic Millions 2YO Clockwise Classic (1000m) on debut at Ballarat on 19 November, is also nominated for the Phelan Ready Stakes.

The field, which received 19 nominations, also includes Magic Millions 2YO Classic hopeful Bring It Home Pop (Rothesay) and the Chris Munce-trained Ours To Keep (Seidnazar), a debut winner at Doomben on 1 October, and eight first starters from trainers including Barry Lockwood, Kelso Wood, Steve O’Dea and Stuart Kendrick.

The other two-year-old race at Doomben on Saturday, the Calaway Gal Stakes (Listed, 1110m), which received 18 nominations.

Among the nominations are debut winners Cellargirl (More Than Ready), a filly trained by Kelly Schweida and the Munce-trained Champ Elect (Choisir).

The in-form Toby Edmonds stable has Tiara Star (Congrats) and first starter Houtzen (I Am Invincible), while Liam Birchley has the talented Sunshine Coast winner Sista Act (Falvelon) set for the race.

Damian Browne will ride Ours To Keep in the Phelan Ready Stakes for Munce and stablemate Champ Elect in the Calaway Gal Stakes.

Ours To Keep has not raced since his emphatic four and a quarter length all-the-way victory at Doomben in the opening metropolitan two-year-old race in Brisbane.

He was a $28,000 purchase at the Magic Millions Gold Coast March Yearling Sale and was later withdrawn from the sales company’s 2YOs In Training Sale held after he made his impressive debut.

“He couldn’t have been more impressive at his first start and Chris was able to back off him after that and give him a little break and bring him back up,” Browne told Sky Sports Radio yesterday.

“He’s pretty bombproof. There were a couple in that race who go all right but he put the away pretty well and we’re expecting good things from him.”

Champ Elect, a $95,000 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale purchase, settled second on debut at Doomben on 5 November before winning by a narrow margin as the $1.80 favourite.

“I trialled her last Tuesday and she seems to have come on since that first up run. She did a couple of things wrong (on debut) but I’m sure the race day experience would have brought her right on and we’re looking forward to a bold showing on Saturday,” Browne said.

“She’s generally been leading her trials and going a bit keenly, so it surprised us that she relaxed so well on debut. “It’s a good sign going towards the Magic Millions to have a filly who can relax like that. To be able to take a sit certainly adds another string to her bow.”

Other feature races on Saturday at Doomben include the Gold Edition Plate (Listed, 1200m), with the field including the undefeated Bjorn Baker-trained Winning Rupert (Written Tycoon), an almost certain favourite, and the speedy gelding Sundance (I Am Invincible) from the Edmonds stable.

Winning Rupert, a winner of the Champagne Classic (Gr 2, 1200m) at Doomben as a juvenile, resumed with a dominant five and three quarter length win at Eagle Farm on 3 December.

Baker is chasing the Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (RL, 1400m) with the three-year-old at the Gold Coast, with Winning Rupert set to have his final lead up race on 31 December at Eagle Farm.

Source: ANZ Bloodstock News