Chris Waller-trained Velrosso denied a fast-finishing Phelan Ready his first win for almost four years in the Magic Millions Cup (1400m) at the Gold Coast this afternoon.
Phelan Ready has famously not recorded a race win since he took out the 2009 Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) and looked as though he was going to end the drought when he flew down the centre of the track, but narrowly missed out in a tight photo finish.
Velrosso looked like he was going to cruise to victory in the final stages of the race, but took his time to pick up the leader Club Command before Phelan Ready appeared on the scene; with Waller admitting that he thought Phelan Ready had denied his charge his sixth career win.
“He was aided by a great ride and he is obviously a well-bred horse,” Waller said after the race.
“It is great to have Gerry Harvey here to enjoy the occasions; we don’t get him here very often but thank god we have today.”
Jockey Damien Oliver said that he remained confident that Velrosso would win throughout the race, but confessed that the son of General Nediym took longer to hit the front than the leading jockey would have liked.
“It was a good win and he had a lovely run,” Oliver said.
“I always thought that he was going to win, but he took forever to get there and he only just held on in the end.
“This horse was well in today; he has been in good form and it was just a nice race for him.
“I actually won his first start in a race on him, as a two-year-old, and the second time has been a long time coming.”
Phelan Ready has now finished second on six occasions, following his victories in the 2009 Magic Millions Classic (1200m) and the Golden Slipper, but Oliver said that he didn’t feel too sorry for the connections of the runner-up.
“He has won plenty of prizemoney, so you can’t deny him,” Oliver joked after the race.
There was controversy before the running of the Magic Millions Cup; with trainer Kent Fleming accused of tubing Lucky Hussler before the race.
Racing Queensland Chief Steward Wade Birch said that there was not enough evidence that Fleming treated Lucky Hussler and the George Moore Stakes winner was cleared to take part in the race, but failed to fire and never looked like a winning hope.