The 2014 Magic Millions Classic barrier draw was conducted at the Gold Coast this morning and the big winner was favourite Unencumbered, who will jump from barrier three in the $2 million event this weekend.
Trainer Bjorn Baker said yesterday that he hoped Unencumbered would draw towards the inside of the Magic Millions Classic field, with luck in running expected to play a major role in the race, and the rising trainer got his wish; with barrier three the only gate remaining when he made his selection.
Unencumbered is expected to start the Magic Millions Classic as a clear favourite following his strong victories in the Ascend Sale Trophies Plate (1000m), Wyong Magic Millions Classic (1100m) and Group 3 B.J. McLachlan Stakes (1200m).
Another big winner in the 2014 Magic Millions Classic barrier draw was Team Hawkes-trained Invisible, who will jump from barrier seven when he makes his second appearance at the races this weekend.
Invisible made his racing debut with an upset victory over Jetwings and one-time Magic Millions favourite Nordic Empire in the IPad App Plate (1200m) at Canterbury on December 28 and according to co-trainer Wayne Hawkes has taken plenty of improvement out of the run.
Liam Birchley-trained Ruby Soho (barrier two), Group 3 winner Oakleigh Girl (barrier six), Gai Waterhouse-trained Cyclone (barrier one), Haradasun colt Divine Service (barrier four) and the undefeated Celestial Dragon also had their winning chances increased by this morning’s barrier draw.
Echo Gal has been one of the biggest drifters in Magic Millions Classic betting markets since she was found to be suffering from thumps after running in the B.J. McLachlan Stakes on December 28 and her odds will continue to lengthen after she drew barrier 17 this morning.
The Stratum filly stamped herself as a leading Magic Millions Classic contender with a dominant four lengths win on debut in the TAB Rewards Plate (1000m) but was forced to gallop in front of Racing Queensland stewards, after her flop in the B.J. McLachlan Stakes, before being cleared to take her place in the field.
Another horse that had their chances in the $2 million race hindered by the 2014 Magic Millions Classic barrier was Mick Price-trained Nordic Empire, who will start from barrier 19 this weekend.
Nordic Empire recorded an impressive win on debut in the Flemington Equine Clinic Plate (1000m) at Caulfield on November 30 and finished third behind Invisible in his second race start after being blocked for a run in the straight.
The Wilander colt will be ridden by piping hot jockey Damien Oliver but will need plenty of luck from the outside gate, while Price’s other charge Geromayo fared much better and will jump from barrier eight with Stephen Baster on board.
Bryan Guy-trained Stroak (barrier 14), Mornington-based I Am The General (barrier 15), Kelly Schweida-trained Totally Sure (barrier 16) and Sheer Style (barrier 21) are other Magic Millions contenders who are going to need plenty of luck in running.
Unencumbered ($4) remains a clear favourite in 2014 Magic Millions Classic betting markets from Invisible ($5), Oakleigh Girl ($10), Nordic Empire ($11), Geromayo ($12) and Stroak ($12).