While it wasn’t a stakes race, one of the most intriguing races of the day was conducted at Ballarat on Saturday – the $200,000 Magic Millions Ballarat 2YO Clockwise Classic.
Run for only the fourth time, the innovative race is the only race run in Victoria in the clockwise direction and is an ideal lead up race for those targeting the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast – exactly where this year’s winner Claro El Banco will be aimed.
Purchased from the draft of Anthony Mithen’s Rosemont Stud by trainer Jason Petch for $80,000, the victory by the Statue Of Liberty gelding has already re-paid connections his purchase price.
A condition of entry to the race was that all runners had previously had a jumpout in the clockwise direction, with Claro El Banco recording a half-length victory in his heat a few weeks prior to the race.
Slightly disappointing when making his race track debut in the Listed Maribyrnong Trial at Flemington, the subsequent Ballarat jumpout gave connections confidence heading into Saturday’s race.
After jumping from a wide gate, jockey Craig Newitt took the two-year-old to the front, and being the only runner in the field to have had a prior race start, experience showed, as he went on to defeat the Gai Waterhouse-trained Preferito by a length and a quarter, with the well-bred Sepoy filly She’s Positive in third.
Trainer Jason Petch indicated that Claro El Banco would now be given his chance to head to the Gold Coast for the $2 million from on January 9, part of the $10 million day.
“I’ll put him away for two weeks and now and then we’ll get him ready for the Gold Coast Magic Millions.”
“What a magnificent win. He’s had to use him up to the first corner – there he is three (lengths) in front and never shirked the task.”
“I’m just so proud of the horse,” Petch added.
Originally a pinhook purchase by Sheamus Mills Bloodstock from the draft of Eliza Park International at the Inglis Great Southern Weanling and Bloodstock Sale, the art of pinhooking is slowly gathering momentum with the likes of Pierro and Zoustar both sold as weanling before heading to the yearling sales.
Mills has a very good record with his record with his pinhook purchases. In 2014 12 weanlings were purchased and of those, 7 have made it to the track with 6 winners (4 on debut), with six of the seven considered good enough by their connections to contest black type races.
While it is hard to signal out the best, Mills indicated that, “I think the most talented ones are Mr Individual, Cool Snitzel and Minetti who all look to have bright futures along with Claro El Banco who could surpass them all with a good showing on the Gold Coast.”
When selecting a weanling with the potential to re-offer as a yearling, the aspect of pedigree versus type plays a significant role.
“I look for a combination of both. Enough pedigree to make a select sale but more importantly a type that will sell well.
“I look for horses I believe will have racetrack success, as ultimately your results are your brand.”
Image: Magic Millions.