All eyes will be on the clock as much as the races when two Magic Millions Classic big guns Snipzu and Sizzling run in consecutive races at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
It is rare for Queenslanders to head the betting in the Classic but the two Snitzel youngsters have undoubtedly earned their place with impressive wins.
Sizzling is the first cab off the rank running in the Listed Phelan Ready Stakes (1000m) and 40 minutes later Snipzu is running in the Calaway Gal Stakes (1000m).
Sizzling defeated subsequent winner Dansonate by an easing six lengths at its only start while Snipzu won its past two starts at Eagle Farm by a combined margin of 10-1/2 lengths.
TABsportbet have Sizzling at $3 for the $2m Classic (1200m) run on January 14 at the Gold Coast with Snipzu at $5 on the same line as the Gai Waterhouse-trained Randwick winner Driefontein.
On Saturday, Sizzling takes on two undefeated gallopers in Eagle Farm winner Noogoora Burr and Doomben winner Pure Whisper – both are $31 chances for the Magic Millions Classic.
There are also six unraced gallopers in the event.
Kelso Wood can’t wait to get Sizzling back to race conditions following his second to Patinack Farm’s Nechita in the trial.
“We didn’t want to bust him in the trial,” Wood said.
“He’s a pretty laid back type of horse, but you saw what he did on race day when Chris (Munce) put a couple around him.
“I am very happy with where he’s at right now.”
Snipzu was also beaten in a recent barrier trial by a Patinack Farms runner Sookie.
But unlike Wood, trainer Liam Birchley has concern after drawing barrier 15.
“The alley definitely is not ideal,” Birchley said.
“It makes it that much tougher and she’s got three kilos more under the set weights and penalties.
“She’s only about 85 per cent right and she’s probably vulnerable on Saturday with her weight and bad barrier.”
Birchley remains unfazed by the barrier trial defeat and is confident Snipzu will be at her peak for the Magic Millions Classic.
“She was fairly fat the day she trialled. Alan Russell rode her in trial so she carried a lot of extra weight as well,” Birchley said.
“She also wore heavy shoes and I believe Sookie was plated so I’m not too concerned.”
After years of trying to win the Gold Coast feature, Birchley isn’t getting too carried away just yet.
His best effort in the Magic Millions was with Paprika who was runner-up to Phelan Ready in 2009.
“I’m not sure yet if we’ve even seen the Magic Millions winner race,” he said.
“It’s far too early and a lot of things can happen in the next few weeks.
“We’ll know more in a couple of weeks who is best placed to win it.”
Sookie will be making her race debut for Patinack Farm in the same race.
The question is whether she can hold that trial form?
Bookmakers are wary of the trial and have the daughter of Casino Prince just $18 for the Magic Million Classic.
“She’s jumped out of the ground. Before that she was just poking along,” said Patinack Farm stable foreman Brett Killion.
“Prizemoney will dictate whether she needs to have another run before the Magic Millions.
“There wasn’t much between the two Snipzu and Sookie in the trial and both were very impressive.”
Snipzu also takes on two undefeated gallopers in Doubtfilly and Lady Colours – both are provincial winners with promise but are even less fancied in the Classic.
The Bruce Hill trained Lady Colours is ($126) while the Stuart Kendrick trained Doubtfilly is ($51).