Last Saturday’s Magic Millions meeting proved a day of remarkable firsts for a man from one of Australia’s most respected and admired racing families, John Moloney.
The win of Flying Jess (Hinchinbrook) in the Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (RL, 1400m) was extraordinary on so many levels. And yet it seemed to pass almost unnoticed. Even trainer Moloney failed to update his website, with the news, until late on Wednesday.
The daughter of Hinchinbrook (Fastnet Rock) was 100/1. The trainer had never met the jockey, Tye Angland, until last Saturday. The filly is the first horse purchased for Moloney to train by successful syndicator Joe O’Neill. It was just the second Magic Millions day runner for the trainer. And it was certainly the biggest single cheque earned by any horse from the Moloney training family.
The odds? May not have necessarily shocked keen stable followers. After all, just three months earlier, Moloney won with 100/1 chance Dornier (Artie Schiller) at Bendigo.
“And we very nearly won the Oakleigh Plate in 2007 with Poet’s Voice who was 100/1. Luke Nolen rode him after, as I recall, he got the sack from the favourite Magnus,” Moloney recalled.
Poet’s Voice (Monde Bleu) was beaten a head by Undue (Commands) with Magnus (Flying Spur) third and Nolen had, indeed, ridden Magnus at his five previous starts. Nolen, a few months earlier, had achieved his breakthrough Group One win aboard Wonderful World (Agnes World) in the Caulfield Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m).
“I’m not a big punter. I had $10 each way (on Flying Jess) at the 100/1. I believe a couple of the owners had $100 on her at 200/1 pre post. There seemed to be a lot of people who had a few dollars on her and I was surprised she didn’t firm a little in the market.
“But I suppose my realistic expectation was a top five finish. She’d made some improvement from her previous run and I hoped she could run third, fourth or fifth behind the favourites Winning Rupert and Global Glamour,” he said.
The jockey? “I hadn’t met him. Really didn’t know him,” Moloney said. “But Joe (O’Neill) recommend him and told me he was a strong rider and that’s just what this filly needs. I wanted someone strong enough to have her settle a bit closer but without being driven and someone with the strength to have her finish the race off. Tye (Angland) rode her beautifully.”
The race? “The quicker they went the better it was going to be for her as she’s so strong and she settled well just off the pressure spot of the race. It unfolded really well,” he said.
The filly? “She’s such a beautiful horse and so well put together. She’s always shown that she had something special about her and now she has the Group Three win to her name (SA Sires’ Produce Stakes) and this big monetary prize, the pressure’s off a bit,” he said.
The future? “She’s had an easy week and will now have a couple of weeks on the water walker. Then we’ll think about where we go. I’m happy to keep her to three-year-old races and Joe thinks the Kembla Grange Classic could be suitable.” That race (Gr 3, 1600m) for fillies is on 10 March.
The prize money – $1,025,000? “Really something else, isn’t it? Biggest cheque anyone in the family would have ever pocketed from a race, I’d imagine,” he said.
To put it in some perspective, Moloney’s father Jim trained the legendary Vain (Wilkes) who won the Golden Slipper Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) in 1969 which carried a total purse of $40,000. By my preferred inflation calculator which is the cost of the daily newspaper (then
five cents) that Slipper prize pool would now be $1,200,000 compared to last Saturday’s $1,945,000.
Hoofnote: Moloney’s one previous Magic Millions runner was Pinezero (Danzero) who finished sixth, from barrier 16, behind Tereschenko (Testa Rossa) in the equivalent race in 2006.
Magic Millions Wash-Up
While the status of the Magic Millions 2YO Classic (RL, 1200m) continues to grow it is condemned to it’s restricted listed status,according to Magic Millions managing director Vin Cox, unless there’s a ‘wholesale change of thinking’ from the International Cataloguing Standards Committee.
“As it stands any restricted race cannot carry group or listed status, no matter the quality of the race,” he said.
Cox said that while the notion of opening up the two-year-old race to all-comers had been discussed on occasions it was not likely to happen. “It has been talked about but not with any great conviction,” he said.
Cox said that it was possible additional bonuses may be applied to the flagship juvenile race. “The women’s bonus has worked very well,” he said. What about something for the retirees, with their disposable income at hand, I asked? “Not a bad idea. We’ll look at it; we’ve certainly talked about the reverse, an incentive for younger owners.”
Cox was delighted with the outcome of this year’s sale and race meeting. “I think it was a spectacular success. Not just in terms of the numbers but the atmosphere and the buzz which was generated at the sales and at the races,” he said.