Gai Waterhouse says Carriages still the one to beat in Magic Millions despite seven weeks between runs

Craig Williams wins the Magic Millions Clockwise Classic at Ballarat on Carriages.

Craig Williams wins the Magic Millions Clockwise Classic at Ballarat on Carriages. Source: Getty Images


GAI Waterhouse insists Carriages is still the one to beat in next month’s Magic Millions despite confirmation on Sunday she will not have another start before the $2 million race.

Part-owner David Henderson yesterday confirmed Carriages will bypass the BJ McLachlan Stakes (1200m) at the Gold Coast this Saturday.

Star jockey Tommy Berry will fly up to Queensland to put Carriages through her paces in a trial at the Gold Coast tomorrow instead meaning she will enter the Magic Millions 2YO Classic on January 10 without having a race start for seven weeks.

The news comes as trainer Les Ross all but ruled out a BJ McLachlan start for Frequendly yesterday as she continues to battle a liver issue.

Carriages also bypassed the Calaway Gal Stakes on December 13 when she cut her leg in the sand roll after trackwork in Brisbane in the lead up to that race.

Carriages’ trainer Gai Waterhouse.

Carriages’ trainer Gai Waterhouse. Source: GoldCoastBulletin


But Waterhouse is not concerned about her fitness and feels her little setback could actually be an advantage come Magic Millions day.

“I think it is a blessing in disguise,” Waterhouse said.

“All my major two-year-old races have always been won by horses that have sometimes had some little enforced or intentional freshen up.

“She is thriving in Queensland and these days are very hot and humid and I said to the owners you can only go to the well so many times with two-year-olds.”

Carriages won the Magic Millions Clockwise Classic by two lengths at her last start at Ballarat on November 22 and Waterhouse said the performance showed she was the one to beat in the Magic Millions.

“There is a filly no one thought could win down at Ballarat and she just kicked their brains in,” she said.

Magic Millions contender Frequendly.

Magic Millions contender Frequendly. Source: News Corp Australia


“I think she has proven she is the one to beat.”

Henderson said the decision to miss the BJ McLachlan meant they could also target the Sydney autumn carnival with Carriages if all goes to plan.

“It gives us a window there where we can have a freshen up after the Magic Millions and have two runs in the autumn carnival,” he said.

“But Gai will have her spot on for the Magic Millions.”

While Carriages will miss the BJ McLachlan, stablemate and fellow Magic Millions contender Right Of Way will be a starter in the Group 3 feature on Saturday.

The Denman filly has finished second and third respectively at both her runs in Sydney over 1100m to date and Waterhouse feels she will be more than competitive this weekend.

Magc Millions favourite Wicked Intent.

Magc Millions favourite Wicked Intent. Source: News Corp Australia


“She is going to really appreciate the step up to 1200m,” she said.

Magic Millions favourite Wicked Intent will run in the BJ McLachlan but don’t expect to see Frequendly in the race.

Trainer Ross admits he is now in a race against time to get the filly right for the Magic Millions.

“It’s nothing major but she is still not eating 100 per cent and her liver enzymes aren’t right and we are treating her for it but it just doesn’t seem to be helping,” he said.

“I’m 90 per cent sure she won’t run (this Saturday).”

Ross is hoping to start Frequendly in the 1050m two-year-old set weights race at Toowoomba on December 31.

Story courtesy Brad Davidson Gold Coast Bulletin


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