Better Than Ready for Magic Millions


Queenslanders have won the Gold Coast Magic Millions 2YO Classic in three of the last six years and on Saturday a couple of banana benders surged into contention for the 2019 edition of the rich race.

Kelly Schweida’s colt The Odyssey (pictured by BRC with connections), which earlier this year became the first winner for former top sprinter Better Than Ready, franked his Magic Millions credentials by winning one of the key lead-ups, the Listed Phelan Ready Stakes (1110m) at Doomben.

And another Queenslander and offspring of Better Than Ready, Rockhampton filly Better Reflection, won her place in the Magic Millions when she sat wide the trip but was still too strong in winning the Listed Calaway Gal Stakes (1110m).

In the first of the two-year-old Stakes races at Doomben, James Orman had The Odyssey ($4.60) sitting outside the pace before going to the lead in the straight, fending off Tony McEvoy’s colt Sun City ($1.95fav) which was held up for a point but got out in plenty of time.

The Odyssey, bought for $30,000, is owned by a group of women, including Schweida's wife Vera, which makes him eligible for the Millions $500,000 Women's Bonus.

“He’s a pretty boy and the beauty of him is he has good gate speed,” Eagle Farm trainer Schweida told Sky Racing.

“He is a good improver so hopefully he keeps getting a little bit better come Magic Millions time.

“His good gate speed really put him into the race and I think he's improved another two to three lengths off his last start which was probably the difference today.”

In the end, The Odyssey held off Sun City by ¾ length with another ¾ length back to Chris Waller’s colt Krameric ($5) in third.

Jockey Jeff Lloyd said Sun City had raced well but got a bit lost at a vital stage.

The Odyssey, which posted his second win from three starts, firmed from $26 to $11 with Ladbrokes for the Magic Millions 2YO Classic on January 12.

Schweida indicated The Odyssey would have one more run before the Magic Millions, potentially the week before the rich Gold Coast  race.

Better Reflection, trained by John Wigginton from Rockhampton and ridden by Nigel Seymour, was the next Queensland juvenile to strut her stuff when she posted a strong victory in the Calaway Gal Stakes.

Better Reflection started long-odds on when making her debut in Rockhampton, and won by almost six lengths, and started a solid third pick at $6.50 in the Calaway Gal on Saturday.

“She was three-deep the trip and I thought she can’t win, but she’s very brave,” Wigginton said of his filly, who won by 1.5 lengths.

“She will now go straight into the Millions.”

Better Reflection was as long as $61 in Magic Millions betting on Saturday morning and firmed into $11 after the win.

Houtzen (2017), Le Chef (2015) and Real Surreal (2013) are the Queensland horses that have won the Magic Millions 2YO Classic in the last six years.

- article by Ben Dorries, racenet.