Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Sizzling may have been displaced as the favourite for this Saturday’s Magic Millions Classic 2012 at the Gold Coast, but the Kelso Wood-trained galloper’s regular rider Chris Munce is singing the youngster all kinds of praise, confident they are the horse to beat in the $2 million feature.
Formerly top of the odds at Luxbet for the Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m), Snitzel colt Sizzling was regulated to second elect in the markets after a bad barrier (12 of 14) hampered their chances and saw them finish runner-up to Gai Waterhouse’s smart Fastnet Rock filly Driefontein in the Group 3 BJ McLachlan Stakes (1200m) at Doomben on December 31.
Bookies reacted after the race, firming Driefontein into favouritism for the Classic while Sizzling drifted out to the second line of betting.
Despite the last-start defeat, Sizzling lost few admirers as they reeled off blistering sectionals in the McLachlan.
Ace hoop Munce, aboard Sizzling for all three of their career starts to date that included a commanding six length win on debut at Eagle Farm last November before a close second to fellow Magic Millions Classic hope Noogoora Burr in the Listed Phelan Ready Stakes (1000m) on December 17, is firmly on his mount’s bandwagon heading into Saturday’s showdown.
“I think Sizzling has got the characteristics to win the race,” Munce said.
“He is the ultimate professional, he does everything right and he has plenty of ability.”
A win in the Classic with Sizzling this year and Munce will become a four-time Magic Millions Classic winner, the most successful jockey in the race’s history.
While wary that Driefontein and fellow Sydney visitor Amorino (third favourite) certainly have claims, Munce has expressed his belief that the majority of the other instate raiders will just be there to make up the field limit.
“They have got to come up here and bring their A-game or they will just be going around with the field,” Munce said.
“My bloke has been up here performing well and he only needs to have a one-hour float trip down the road.
“I would say there are three genuine chances in the race in Sizzling, Driefontein and Amorino and the others will need a lot of luck.”
Munce’s three former Magic Millions Classic wins came with Sunblazer (1989), Excellerator (2001) and most recently Dance Hero (2004), equal with legendary Queensland rider Mick Dittman.
“It’s a big thrill to win any big race but I suppose holding the most amount of winners outright in a race lit this would be pretty special,” Munce said of hopefully adding a fourth MM Classic title to his record this weekend.
“It has been a race that has been very kind to me over the years and I first won it when I was only 18.”
Two of Munce’s three winning Magic Millions rides came aboard horses from the Gai Watehouse stables, Excellerator and Dance Hero.
This year, however, Munce will be doing everything he can to defeat Waterhouse.
“Gai holds a very good chance in the race in Dreifontein but we will be there doing our best to beat her,” Munce said.
Munce added that barriers would play a huge role in the race and that a mid-field gate when the Magic Millions Classic barrier draw goes ahead on Tuesday morning would be the most advantageous for Sizzling.
“There doesn’t seem to be a lot between the top three, so barriers will play a big part,” he said.
“If Sizzling can draw somewhere in the middle that would be perfect.”
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