Highland Beat has drifted out to 2016 Magic Millions Classic odds of $34, but co-trainer Tom Dabernig can’t fault the juvenile ahead of the $2 million race at the Gold Coast on Saturday.
Highland Beat did not have a great deal of luck when he made his racing debut in the Listed Debutant Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield on October 10, but he stamped himself as a horse to watch when he led from start to finish in the G1X.Com.Au Plate (1000m) at Moonee Valley on December 11 and he was not disgraced when he finished a tough second in the Hyland Race Colours Plate (1200m) at Royal Randwick on Boxing Day.
Dabernig told Racing Ahead that Highland Beat had taken plenty of improvement in his first race start going the Sydney way of going and he is confident that there is worse chances in the 2016 Magic Millions Classic this weekend.
“He is really well,” Dabernig said.
“We sent him to Sydney to break the trip and have a run at Randwick, where he finished second, and it was a soft track on that occasions.
“Brenton Avdulla rode him and thought that he was still not entirely comfortable on that leg, so he will be all the better for that and since that run he has had the benefit of a big of strong work at Randwick.
“He is a sound, healthy horse that has a few runs on the board, so I am sure he isn’t the worst in the race for sure.
“It is a syndicate full of girls, so if he were to win it would be a big coup with the bonus going off.”
The Lindsay Park team also have Gracious Prospect in the 2016 Magic Millions Cup field, but Dabernig is not particularly bullish about the chances of the Tale Of The Cat gelding, who has not recorded a race win since he took out the Lawn Handicap (1400m) at Flemington almost a year ago.
Dabernig said that Gracious Prospect will need to show plenty of early speed to be any chance in the Magic Millions Cup, but he is hopeful that the Gold Coast track might suit horses that have drawn out wide.
“It is not going to be easy,” Dabernig said.
“He is a go forward horse, but from that gate it is going to be tricky.
“He is going to have to begin very well.”
Highland Beat is currently available at 2016 Magic Millions Classic odds of $34 with Ladbrokes, while Capitalist is now a $1.70 favourite from Nikitas ($10), Zelady’s Night Out ($10) and Niccolance ($11).