The Brendan McCarthy trained Murt The Flirt has earned himself a return trip to the Gold Coast in Queensland after winning the $100,000 Magic Millions 3&4yo Classic (1100m) at Ballarat last Saturday.
McCarthy took Murt The Flirt to the Gold Coast last January when he ran fifth from the outside barrier in the $800,000 Gold Coast Magic Millions 3yo Guineas (1400m) and the Caulfield trainer has selected the $1m Magic Millions Cup (1400m) at the Gold Coast on January 9 as the four year old’s mission this trip.
“He wasn’t beaten that far in the Magic Millions Guineas last year and he drew the outside,” McCarthy said.
“I reckon he’s that much bigger and stronger this time, he’s only just matured now.
“I think he’ll get a lot of improvement out of his first-up run so that’s a real positive heading forward. So I think we’ll be in it with a realistic chance.”
Murt The Flirt was having his first run since June when he made it back to back wins in the $100,000 Magic Millions 3&4yo Classic after winning last year’s version on debut.
“A lot of the time first-up, especially after a pretty exertive run, they are a bit flat but he’s pulled up extremely well,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy is keen to follow a similar program to last year when Murt The Flirt had a run in Wyong on his way to the Gold Coast for a fifth in the $100,000 Wyong Magic Millions 3yo Stakes (1200m) and will study the program for a suitable led up race.
“I wouldn’t even mind going to Sydney and following a similar pattern as last year. Even if there’s a race in Sydney, I think that would fit in well,” McCarthy said.
Murt The Flirt has only raced on nine occasions and last Saturday’s win was his third, taking is winning prizemoney to almost $160,000.
Last Saturday’s win was also a triumph for jockey Chris Symons who was back riding for the first time after suffering serious injuries in a race fall at Bendigo in June.
“It’s great because he’s one of the first horses I started riding when I came back,” Symons said.
“Brendan has been a massive supporter of mine.
“I thought he might need this run under his belt and then we drew barrier 17 and I wanted to pull the pin, but we overcame that.
“I’m just rapt.”
McCarthy was very happy to be able to give Symons a winner on his first day back in the saddle.
“Chris has been very close with me over the last few years and he’s a terrific bloke,” McCarthy said.
“After an accident like that a lot of people don’t come back – he really had doubts over whether he’d come back.
“It’s terrific just to have him back and to win makes it so much better.”