Chris Waller and his team on the Gold Coast led by Paul Shailer completed a resurrection of epic proportions when Shaquero lived up to his early season form to land the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic on Saturday.
Hugh Bowman made full use of barrier one on the Breeders’ Plate winner and this time, allowed to settle in behind the speed, he showed a superior turn of foot to put the race away halfway up the running, ending a 30-year quest to win the race for locally based owners Neville Morgan and David Devine.
“The team did a great job all around the country and to get a Magic Millions winner was pretty special,” Waller said.
The champion trainer immediately put the Golden Slipper on the agenda for Shaquero and for stablemate She’s All Class, which he felt was hindered by a wide barrier draw.
There was a certain inevitability about Waller winning the Magic Millions 2YO Classic, but Shaquero is extra satisfying, given the measures that had to be taken to have him peak on Saturday.
Shaquero was the early Magic Millions favourite but fell out of favour when he was beaten 7.5 lengths as a $2.20 favourite first up in the BJ McLachlan Classic at Eagle Farm.
Waller made the call to send him to the races again last Saturday and while he was better, the market didn’t overly react and he was sent out a $13 chance.
Waller’s Gold Coast stable has been a big part of the Shaquero success story, having trialled him here before the Breeders’ win and then having him in the stable for his last three runs.
“I’m very happy for Chris and Neville [Morgan] and David [Devine] and all the staff back home, especially the Gold Coast,” Waller’s Gold Coast stable manager Paul Shailer said.
“They’ve had a lot to do with this horse for a long time. I’m very proud of them and it’s a great effort by everyone.’’
Waller was still revelling in winning his first Magic Millions when Tycoonist won at Rosehill on Saturday.
And he was naturally enjoying the success as he revealed another potentially above-average horse.
“Winning on your home track wasn’t bad either and it was good to see him get the job done,” Waller said.
“His owners will be just as excited at Shaquero’s owners, it doesn’t matter where they win.”
Tycoonist was only having his third start for Waller and the Written Tycoon three-year-old was seen as good enough to take to a $2 million race up north.
“It was the plan to have him up there for the Magic Millions three-year-old race but he didn’t make the field,” Waller said.
“Owners don’t get disappointed winning races and he’s started to work it all out.”
Tycoonist was too good for the more fancied runners like Blaze A Trail and Shaik who just got too far back before running on to finish second and fourth respectively.
Meanwhile Above And Beyond had never won at Rosehill in eight visits and couldn’t manage a place in four attempts at 1500m but ticked off both in one huge hit on Saturday.
The Gary Portelli-trained son of Golden Slipper winner Sebring came from well back to charge past his rivals in the straight to win by two-and-half-lengths easing down.
“He is a funny horse,’’ Portelli said. ‘’If he was human, he would be a criminal.
“He does everything he can do to go against the rules. He is a thinker and he can sometimes feel a bit like a non-tryer, so you can never go to the races actually knowing what horse is going to turn up.’’
Portelli has proven himself something of a master of the Sebring breed which partly explains why he paid (just) $40,000 to buy the now $300,000-plus winner at the yearling sales.
“It was one, bold bid too,’’ the Slipper winning trainer says.
“I was happy to go to $150,000 but there was an X-ray issue that stopped him from the Hong Kong buyers looking at him. So I put my $40,000 bid and looked around and no one else was bidding and I thought ‘has this horse lost a leg somewhere’ and ended-up taking him home.
He has been a lot of fun without being a superstar.’’
Portelli watched the win from the Gold Coast where he is attending the Magic Millions Yearling Sale as well as farewelling a much loved member of his stable.
“Old Testashadow was retired today, that was his sixth go at a Magic Millions race and now it is over so it is a bit of an emotional day for us all.
“They don’t come around like him very often.’’
NCA Sports Newsroom
FULL REPORT is here