Talented Newcastle four-year-old Magicalease will take the next step in his comeback to racing after a serious tendon injury, when he contests the 1400-metre Class 1 Handicap at the Newcastle Racecourse on Saturday.
Considered a Derby prospect by his trainer Alan Scorse during the latter part of his two-year-old days, Magicalease’s tendon injury forced the gelding to spend almost a year in a spelling paddock.
After two barrier trials Magicalease returned to the racetrack at Scone on October 27, where he was untroubled to win a Maiden with Robert Thompson in the saddle. The four-year-old is the $4.20 second favourite behind the odds on favourite Cuba ($1.80) in Saturday’s race.
Scorse is confident that Magicalease will run well but is cautious.
“The horse hasn’t put a foot wrong since he came back into the stable and he has improved since his first-up win at Scone,” Scorse said.
“He had a serious injury and 16 months is a very long time between, runs but he won impressively at Scone. My concern on Saturday is that the 1400 metres may not be far enough for him. Magicalease will run 2000 metres and before he broke down I thought he was a Queensland Derby prospect. If the tendon stands up this horse is above average.”
Scorse, a Group 1-winning jockey, has six in training in his Newcastle stable.
Magicalease is raced by a large group, which includes retired ABC sports commentator Alan Marks, Newcastle Jockey Club vice chairman Paul Leaming, fellow director Mike Hadaway and former Newcastle Knights CEO Mike Armstrong.
The shortest-priced favourite at Newcastle is the Kris Lees-trained Kettering in the 900-metre Maiden Plate. The three-year-old turned in an eye catcher first up at Muswellbrook on October 2 when he stormed home from the rear and just failed to catch boom three-year- old Rekindled Force.
Last start at Canterbury there were excuses when Kettering was beaten two-and-a-half lengths. The expected fast tempo will play into the gelding’s hands as he will race off the pace and will be finishing strongly.
Sydney’s champion trainer Chris Waller has eight of the eleven runners in the 1400 metre Fillies and Mares Maiden. Faith In Hand races in the same ownership and carries the colours made famous by the great Makybe Diva.
Waller trains the filly which was only beaten 1.8 lengths by Torvill in the Listed Reginald Allen at Randwick two starts back. Last start on October 25 she was beaten less than a length at Warwick Farm. Top weight Jaunty, a stablemate, has been placed in three of her four starts with two of those victories on Metropolitan tracks.
Warwick Farm trainer Gary Portelli has chosen a much easier option on Saturday for his three-year-old filly Seababe, which went around in the Group 3 Ethereal at Caulfield last start.
The Sebring filly will step out in the Class 1 Maiden Plate (1850 metres) and she will be hard to beat.
Seababe won a Class 1 over this trip three starts back before a creditable performance in the Listed Dulcify Quality at Randwick.