The richest two-year-old race in the world lived up to its name for another year with a surprise win from Le Chef in the $2 million Jeep Magic Millions Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast on Saturday.
Gai Waterhouse’s Carriages made her way over from the widest gate to lead ahead of Le Chef and Frequendly.The Liam Birchley-trained Pepperano made his way up to second at the halfway mark but Carriages continued to lead at the 300 metre mark followed by Darryl Hansen’s Le Chef.
Race favourite Wicked Intent made his way down the outside of the track and many of the front runners found themselves all over the track. It was anyone’s race to win but ultimately Le Chef crossed the line first ahead of Pepperano and Single Gaze.
It was a beautiful run and the gelding just travelled lovely when Carriages opened the doors for him after wobbling off the fence.
But the run of the race could just as easily go to Pepperano who was enormous after finding herself three-deep early, delivering a cheeky result to finish second. The filly was surprising passed in for sale at $1,000 and today pocketed not only the $300,000 runner-up prize but also one-fifth of the $500,000 bonus for the first four all-female owned horses across the line in the 2YO Classic.
Apprentice jockey Luke Tarrant delivered the win aboard Le Chef, making him the leading Queensland jockey in the Premiership. The young gun bided his time before getting through the small gap inside Carriages.
After winning the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) with Rudy along with the Magic Millions Classic, Tarrant is sure to be in demand this year.
“It’s a great purse but to me it’s not about that,” the hoop said.
“To be honest I just want to prove to people that I don’t need my claim to ride winners. I’m running short on the claim but to me it’s not about that, I’m just happy I got the opportunity to ride the horse.
“I’m appreciating every moment of the win and I really just want to savour it.
“He’s a lovely horses. He got a bit lost his first run without the blinkers on but Darryl has done a pearler of a job throwing the blinkers on him and he did everything just right, improving every run from there on.”
Hansen couldn’t help but sing Tarrant’s praises right back at him.
“He’s a superstar,” the trainer said.
“The last few weeks have been tough trying to get the horse here after he was balloted out and we had to give him a few quick runs but he’s taken it all in his stride.
“I’d like to thank the Saunders family for backing me and it’s good to see them get a result like this.”
Le Chef won his maiden on December 24 at Ipswich along with the First National Handicap (1200m) at the Gold Coast on January 3. His prizemoney will see a serious injection with the $1.4 million winning share of the 2015 Magic Millions Classic prize pool along with the $325,000 bonus for being the first all-female owned horse across the line.