Magic Millions 2YO Classic 2015: Family ties to colt Wicked Intent have Chris Munce focused on Gold Coast feature
IT’S the perennial winners versus the bridesmaids and first timers in the countdown to Saturday’s Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast.
Chris Munce and Gai Waterhouse are the two most successful names in Magic Millions history.
Twice they have combined to win the race, with Dance Hero (2004) and Excellerator (2001). Munce also won the race on Sunblazer in 1989.
Waterhouse claimed additional Millions with Driefontein and Assertive Lad.
Carriages will carry the hopes of the Waterhouse stable this year after impressing everyone with a trackwork spin at Doomben on Saturday.
In typically confident style, Waterhouse declared the filly “the one to beat”.
Munce rides Wicked Intent, the flashy chestnut who had his grip on favouritism loosened when defeated at the Gold Coast late last month.
However, his previous three wins, all by big margins, make him the one to beat and Munce admits this would be his most satisfying Millions win, given Wicked Intent is trained by his father-in law Barry Mitchell and the key role his wife Cathy played in selecting the colt.
“With Barry and Cathy, it’s a real team effort, so it will have extra significance for sure,” Munce said.
“There’s a lot of satisfaction with something like that. Cathy and I went to the sales and picked out this horse for not a lot of money.
“To think how many horses were sold at Magic Millions last year, it’s a bit of an effort just to get one that qualifies for the race.
“Cathy only bought four yearlings, so from only a small throw at the stumps, we’ve come up with this bloke.
“To think we’ve got one of the top chances in the race is fantastic and to win it would be a feather in the cap for everyone.
Conversely to Munce and Waterhouse’s celebrations, shrewd Eagle Farm trainer Liam Birchley is sick of talking about his Magic Millions near misses.
Birchley built his reputation on buying bargain horses out of the MM sales and turning them into racetrack money makers.
He’s won support races on MM day but the 2YO Classic has proven elusive.
In 2009, he saddled up hot favourite Paprika, who was bloused late by subsequent Golden Slipper winner Phelan Ready. In 2013, Missy Longstocking and Ruby Soho have run third for the trainer in the past two years.
Birchley’s back with three chances this year, Saga Of The Storm, Pepperano and Flamenco.
“The more I can get in the better,” Birchley said. “That means there’s one less spot for someone to beat me.”
Sydney trainer Gerald Ryan has a similarly frustrating Millions record.
Snitzel started one of the shortest-priced favourites in the race’s history in 2005, but could do no better than a dead heat for third behind Bradbury’s Luck.
Ryan also had Danbird run second two years earlier and in 2011, Schiffer was third.
Ryan’s Perignon came into MM reckoning with a convincing Sydney win last week. He is set to have his final gallop in Sydney on Tuesday before being floated to the Gold Coast.
Trainer Les Ross and gifted jockey Brad Stewart are seeking to spoil the party for the usual MM suspects, with flying filly Frequendly back into contention after a big win at Toowoomba on Wednesday.
Gun apprentice Luke Tarrant will be making his Magic Millions debut on Saturday.
Tarrant, the rising star of Queensland racing, earned his spot with an easy win on Le Chef on Saturday.
“He wasn’t really comfortable on that (wet) track and if it’s dry next week I think he’s right in it,” Tarrant said.
Story courtesy Nathan Exelby Sunday Mail http://www.couriermail.com.au/sport/superracing/magic-millions-2yo-classic-2015-family-ties-to-colt-wicked-intent-have-chris-munce-focused-on-gold-coast-feature/story-fnii0njy-1227173602150