NEWCASTLE trainers enmasse have signalled they will be chasing the big cash on offer at the Gold Coast next month.
The big Magic Millions day on January 12 has attracted the attention of at least four Broadmeadow-based mentors.
Darren Smith is attempting to qualify his ultra-promising youngster Dream Forward for the $2million Magic Millions Classic.
Paul Perry (Slippery Moss) and Trevor Bailey (Harada Bay) will take on Brisbane star Sizzling in the $1million Trophy for three-year-olds.
Alan Scorse will send Wears Red Feathers north for the $250,000 race for fillies and mares.
Dream Forward burst into calculations for the Magic Millions for two-year-olds at Wyong last Thursday.
She finished third to Assail after getting no closer than four wide from gate nine in the $200,000 Wyong Classic.
On the home turn, a runner inside her bumped the filly yet she still kept finding the line to earn $18,000 in prizemoney.
Last year, horses earning just over $12,000 made the Magic Millions field.
‘‘It truly was an amazing effort for such an inexperienced filly,’’ Smith said.
‘‘Leading up the race she has only had a couple of serious gallops at Broadmeadow and a trial.
‘‘If she had weakened and had beaten a couple home after such a hard run you would say next time in she would win races. However, on that effort we just have to go forward and try to get into the Magic Millions.’’
That is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for owners.
‘‘Ideally I would love to give her a trial and then send her north but right now I am not sure if she will make the field,’’ Smith said.
‘‘I may be forced to run her again or on the other side of the coin is to just take the punt and hope she makes it.’’
Smith will decide today whether to back up Dream Forward on Saturday.
His two options are to run in the 1200metre Plate at Canterbury, worth $48,750 to the winner or go to Scone for the Country Plate over 1000m, which carries a winning purse of $8000.
‘‘A win in either the bush or the city would help her chances,’’ Smith said.
‘‘She has pulled up [from her last run] bright eyed and bushy tailed but obviously I do not want to burn her out. She was 25th on the money list for the Magic Millions before yesterday [Saturday] but a lot of those will drop out.
‘‘There are 16 runners so we might be a chance of making it without another start.’’
Bailey’s Harada Bay booked his trip north with a fighting second to the unbeaten Heart Testa over 1300m at Warwick Farm on Saturday.
‘‘It was a good run over an unsuitable trip against a very good rival,’’ Bailey said.
‘‘My horse will be suited to the 1400m at the Gold Coast and a fast pace, which is sure to happen in a big race.’’
Perry is hoping Slippery Moss can show on Wednesday at Rosehill he deserves his chance in the Magic Millions Trophy.
Slippery Moss will run in the 1400m Bowman’s Office Furniture in town.
‘‘I suppose he just about has to win to clinch the trip to the Magic Millions,’’ Perry said.
‘‘He is going well enough to say he will be hard to beat in a race like he contests on Wednesday.’’
Scorse said he was keen to get Wears Red Feathers back to the Magic Millions fillies and mares race where she finished fifth last year.
‘‘She should have won up there last year,’’ Scorse said. ‘‘She only got beaten 1.2 lengths after being held up twice in the straight.
‘‘She has a terrific second up record and hopefully she can get away with the big race this year.’’
■The decision by young New Zealander James McDonald not to protest after Princess Layla finished second to Babel at Warwick Farm on Saturday did seem surprising.
The winner shifted out over the final stages, and although not touching Princess Layla did baulk her to some degree.
Old-timers and racing hardheads would be saying they have seen a lot less interference and a jockey has whacked in an objection. He might not have got the race but James maybe should have had a shot at the stumps and let the stewards work it out.
■Newcastle’s grand old sprinter Motspur will trial at Wyong today and return to racing on New Year’s Day.
Trainer Kris Lees is aiming the rising 11-year-old at the $100,000 Carrington Stakes over 1100m at listed level tomorrow week.
Lees had thoughts of sending Motspur to Tasmania for the Triple Crown of sprinting he contested down there earlier this year but has decided to keep his old favourite at home.
■Country cuddy Baltra went to Warwick Farm on Saturday with a huge boom on him but he went bust. Unfortunately for punters who backed him as unbeatable, he had a tough run and did a fair job to finish second.
The winner in the 1300m event, River Of Salvation, was aided by a peach of a ride by Sammy Clipperton.
Baltra did enough to say that although his unbeaten record may now be gone, he can make up to punters for the city defeat in his preparation next year.
■Newcastle stayer Savage Blaze, which won over 2600m at Gosford last week, will back up over the same distance and course on Thursday.
Tom Berry has been booked to ride Savage Blaze.
■Two Newcastle trainers did not get any Christmas cheer when the barrier draws came out for Rosehill on Wednesday.
Darren Smith said he was ‘‘50-50’’ about starting his promising galloper The Gallows. The Gallows drew gate 14 in the 1100m sprint. ‘‘He is going good but it is real tough from outside,’’ Smith said.
Jason Deamer is in a similar dilemma with Charzed, which is entered for the 1200m sprint where she has drawn 17.
‘‘I will leave it up to the owner but there are four runners in the race that are entered elsewhere,’’ Deamer said.
‘‘It is a pity she drew so wide as her form is good and she looked to have a chance.’’
■Wyong had a crowd of 3800 for its Magic Millions meeting last Friday. That is 500 more than Warwick Farm attracted for the group2 Villiers on Saturday.
‘‘We had a thousand more than last year and the meeting just continues to grow,’’ Wyong chief Tony Drew said.
■Astute Broadmeadow trainer David Atkins has done a great job with the lightly raced mare Panko.
Panko made it three straight wins when she scored at Canterbury last Friday night. She has had just nine starts for four wins and two seconds and $85,000 in prizemoney.
■Legendary country racing official John Sinclair is in hospital in Newcastle.
The man who guided Quirindi for many decades and his vast number of mates are hoping he might be able to go home tomorrow to celebrate Christmas.
■It is hard to think which was the more disappointing at Warwick Farm on Saturday, Choice Words or Galah.
Both were heavily backed and both let supporters down badly. Both have to be sacked for good.
■So on Christmas Eve, I wish all punters the following.
They are words crooned by the greatest of them all, Frank Sinatra, in The Best Is Yet To Come.
You think you’ve seen the sun, but you ain’t seen it shine
You ain’t seen nothin yet.
The best is yet to come.
Let’s hope so for tomorrow and the New Year ahead.