Next month’s $2 million Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (1400m) at the Gold Coast is on the cards for the Robert Heathcote-trained duo of Pinch Passion and Femme Fireball should they perform in the Group 3 $200,000 Vo Rogue Plate (1350m) this weekend.
Doomben Racecourse in Brisbane is host to a number of Magic Millions Carnival lead-up races on Saturday including the three-year-olds doing battle in the Vo Rogue Plate, which has attracted a full field of hopefuls.
The set weights clash is a key lead-up to the Restricted Listed Magic Millions 3YO Guineas on January 13, a race last summer’s Vo Rogue Plate winner Winning Rupert ran under two lengths back fourth to Flying Jess in as the beaten odds-on favourite.
Pre-field Magic Millions 3YO Guineas favourite in futures markets at Ladbrokes.com.au is Pierata ($4) and despite a last start loss, the Gregory Hickman-trained Pierro colt is also tipped as the one to beat in the Vo Rogue Plate.
Heathcote meanwhile saddles-up two outsider Magic Millions Guineas hopefuls with Femme Fireball ($26) and Pinch Passion ($201) battling for their position via this weekend’s race.
The far better fancied of the two having won three races on the trot in the lead-up to the Vo Rogue Plate is Femme Fireball, the filly also a daughter of former Golden Slipper winner Pierro.
She saluted over the 1350m at Doomben in early December after breaking her maiden status second-up at the Gold Coast in November, and was last seen saluting back at the Gold Coast on December 23.
Jockey Ron Stewart retains the ride on Saturday as Femme Fireball prepares for her first stakes assignment, the up-and-comer at $19 odds for the Group 3 after drawing well in gate five.
“Femme Fireball has been a revelation for the stable and has taken time to come to hand,” Heathcote told Racing Queensland.
“But any horse who can win three straight has a good level of ability.
“She’s one who has drawn a decent gate and from barrier five she won’t need to be as far back in this race.”
Stewart also rides Heathcote’s contender in the Listed $300,000 Bernborough Handicap (1600m) on Saturday Hopfgarten, the galloper running in the event for the fourth time and out to improve on his third last summer.
Stablemate Pinch Passion meanwhile had no luck barrier-wise out in the second widest alley for the Vo Rogue Plate (17 into 15) and as such pays at triple-figure price of $101 to score a huge upset.
The Denman gelding has had 11 starts for two wins and a second, while his last run was a disappointing 10th when well-beaten over the 1350m at Doomben on December 16 in a Class 3.
“Pinch Passion has (barrier) 17 and he’ll need a lot of luck,” Heathcote admitted.
“Both horses need to finish first or second to get into the Magic Millions Guineas.”
Spots in January’s $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) are also on the line at Doomben on Saturday with the juveniles facing off in the Group 3 $200,000 B.J. McLachlan Stakes (1200m).