Tommy Berry is hoping for a change of luck on the Gai Waterhouse trained Certitude to turn the tables on the speedy Assail in the $2m Jeep Magic Millions 2yo Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast on Saturday.
Certitude is one of two youngsters Waterhouse has in the final field of sixteen with Sweet Idea also qualifying for the glamour two year race while Flying Spur colt Rockford failed to make the field and is fourth emergency.
The Clarry Conners trained Assail is the reigning $2.90 favourite after easily winning the $200,000 Wyong Magic Millions 2yo Classic (1100m) at Wyong on December 20, but Berry believes he could have finished closer than the four and a quarter lenghts his filly was beaten in finishing fourth.
“I really felt she was unlucky last start when fourth behind Assail in the Wyong Magic Millions and since then we’ve stuck a set of blinkers on her and her work has been terrific,” Berry said.
“She missed the start and was always chasing. I thought her effort was outstanding and the form out of that race has stood up.”
“We finished four lengths off Assail and she’s the favourite for the Magic Millions. Who knows what would’ve happened if she jumped on terms with them.”
Berry had the choice to ride Certitude or stablemate Sweet Idea but has put his faith in the Not A Single Doubt filly looking for improvement racing in the blinkers for the first time.
Waterhouse is looking for back to back two year old Magic Millions trophies after finishing one two last year while Berry could make it a hat trick after teaming up with Waterhouse last year when Driefontein gained the race on protest over stablemate No Looking Back and taking out the 2011 version with Karuta Queen.
Top Sydney jockey Hugh Bowman has picked up the ride on the Michael Nolan trained Sir Luminar while big race jockey Craig Williams is back from Japan and will be riding the favourite Assail.
Williams went to Warwick Farm on Saturday and partnered Assail in a slick 600m gallop in between races and was impressed with the Charge Forward filly.
“She is a high quality filly,” Williams said.
“The way she worked you would be happy if you were going towards the Slipper. The way that she felt and her attitude, she is a very good filly.
“I was rapt with the way she went. She is better than a Magic Millions horse, she is a high quality filly.
“I’d be happy in a Blue Diamond or a Golden Slipper the way that she felt. She is good.”
Undefeated filly Missy Longstocking continues to improve and is the leading chance of the locally trained two year olds of collecting the main trophy.
Missy Longstocking made it four wins in a row taking out the Group 3 $150,000 B J McLachlan Stakes (1200m) at Doomben on December 29 with regular rider Damian Browne.
A change of tactics saw Missy Longstocking ridden back in the field and the filly was able to finish strongly to keep her unbeaten record intact.
“I think she’s a better horse ridden in behind them and she was able to pick them up pretty easily when I went full bore on her. The last 100 metres she was peaking on her run a little bit but I think Liam has left that little bit there for her grand final in a fortnight,” Browne said after the win.
The Kelso Wood filly Real Surreal cemented her place in the final field with an eye catching win at Eagle Farm on Saturday and has to be included in the chances if she can back up in seven days.
Assail is at the head of the market at $2.90 with Rick Hore-Lacy’s Clevadude breathing down her neck at $3.10 while Miss Longstocking is on the third line of betting at $9.50.
Real Surreal is also in the betting at $11 just ahead of Greytfilly at $12 with Waterhouse’s pair of Certitude ($17) and Sweet Idea ($18) next in the market.