If Rick Hore-Lacy was a little annoyed following the Magic Millions Classic (1200m) draw at Surfers Paradise on Tuesday you could hardly blame him.
His raw but talented gelding Clevadude’s chances in the $2 million race diminished considerably when he got not just a bad but a horrible barrier 18 draw.
Barriers are crucial in any race but even more so at the tight-turning Gold Coast track where it is widely believed that horses have little chance of rounding them up from the back.
But it’s not just speculation that suggests a wide draw is difficult to overcome in the glamour race on the glitter strip, it’s history.
Since the race’s inception 26 years ago, just four horses have won from wider than barrier 14 and nine of the past 11 winners have jumped from between two and seven.
The high pressure Magic Millions generally suits on-pace runners and while Clevadude has shown he likes to get going early, he will have to be right on the top of his game to find a suitable position from the wide alley.
Hore-Lacy indicated earlier this week the instructions to jockey Craig Newitt would still be to push forward as he attempts to add a third straight win to his resume and keep an unbeaten record alive.
“It’s disappointing, barriers are so important particularly on a little track like the Gold Coast but there’s nothing we can do about it, that’s racing,” Hore-Lacy said.
Clevadude is rated a $4.60 second favourite with favourite Assail ($2.60) set to jump from barrier one.
While the inside is likely to be more of an advantage than out wide, trainer Clarry Conners admitted on Radio Sports National that he is “scared” the small filly might get “decked up against the fence.”
“I don’t want to lead. I might have to sit down and work out what to do,” Conners said.