Classy mare Driefontein lumped the top weight of 61kg to a brave victory in the Magic Millions Handicap (1400m) at the Gold Coast this afternoon.
Driefontein did not get her own way at the front of the Magic Millions Handicap field and was challenged all the way down the straight by Miss Leibert, Arms Length and Anna Lizzie.
The daughter of Fastnet Rock looked as though she was tiring in the final stages of the race, but kicked again in the final 100 metres to continue her stellar record at the Magic Millions meeting that includes a win in the 2012 Magic Millions Classic (1200m) and a third place finish in the 2013 Magic Millions Guineas (1400m).
Berry partnered Driefontein in each of her previous starts in the Magic Millions and said that he has formed a strong bond with the mare who he has been riding since she made her debut in the Woods Bagot Handicap (1000m) at Royal Randwick in November of 2011.
“She has been a great mare for me,” Berry said after the race.
“It is very hard to get a horse to turn up at two, three, four and compete at a pretty high level.
“She carried seven kilos more than any other horse in the race today and she was beaten at the 100 but she pulled through.
“Full credit to Gai and the team and it is great to get another winner for Star Thoroughbreds.”
It has been a controversial week for Gai Waterhouse and Star Thoroughbreds, with founder Denise Martin electing to end her exclusive training agreement with Waterhouse, but Martin was quick to hose down any suggestions of a personal falling out between herself and the leading lady of Australian racing.
“It was a great effort by Gai and it was a great ride by Tommy; ten out of ten,” Martin said after the race.
“We have a large number of horses that Gai will train and I am thrilled that she will continue to be the trainer for all of our named horses.
“We are very excited, she is a great lady and we are great mates; she is a marvelous trainer.”
Waterhouse was brimming with confidence before the running of the Magic Millions Handicap and the leading trainer had a few harsh words for experts who believed that Driefontein wasn’t good enough to carry 61 kilograms to victory.
“It was a load of rubbish, an absolute load of rubbish,” Waterhouse said about suggestions that Driefontein could not win.
“This is against her own age, against her own sex, she was the best mare in the race by so far it is not funny and she has won on this track.”
Star Thoroughbreds and Waterhouse will combine again in the Magic Millions Classic this afternoon; with Waterhouse rating both Cyclone and Echo Gal winning chances in the $2 million event.