Smart Snitzel colt Amorino will have no excuses on Saturday when they face off against a crack field of fellow two-year-old Magic Millions graduates in the Gold Coast’s $2 million Classic after the Gerald Ryan-trained hopeful ran a blistering time in their final piece of serious work earlier in the week before arriving in Queensland yesterday.
Amorino burst into calculation for the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) when they easily accounted for their rivals with a two and a half length win on debut in the City Tattersalls Plate (1000m) at Randwick back in mid-October.
They resumed at Rosehill on New Year’s Eve and maintained their undefeated record with a solid one length victory over fellow MM Classic 2012 hopeful Mrs Gray ($31 Luxbet) in the Summer Super Saver Ticket Handicap (1100m).
“He was very strong the other day and we went out there with the intention to take a sit,” Ryan said of Amorino’s last-start win at Rosehill.
“He ended up on the fence inside the speed and they ran it very hard early.
“But he managed to kick at the top of the straight and he was still strong on the line.”
Amorino won that in 1:03.87 seconds, their sectional time a tidy 34.97 seconds, not quite as nice as the 33.95 second sectional current Magic Millions Classic betting favourite Driefontein ($3.20 Luxbet) ran when winning the Group 3 BJ McLachlan Stakes (1200m) in at Doomben on the same day.
Arriving at the Gold Coast early Tuesday morning, Amorino showed Ryan he was ready for their next challenge with a strong workout back at Rosehill on Monday.
“He did some pacework last Friday morning and he had a gallop at Rosehill (on Monday),” Ryan said.
“He ran the half-mile in 52.8 seconds, the 400 metres in 23.70 seconds and the last furlong in 11.5 seconds.
“He looked perhaps better doing his gallop on Monday than he did doing his final gallop going into his first-up run.
“His times are good but it is how he has been doing it that is more impressive.”
Ryan was referring to the fact that Amorino ran one of the best times of the morning at his home track on Monday, matching it easily with the older, better-tried horses getting around on the day.
“His was on a track where they were running fast time but his was probably the best last furlong of the morning,” Ryan said.
“Blake (Shinn) was on him and he didn’t ask him to do anything.
“He just gave him a squeeze inside the last furlong and he hit the line really good.”
It was a similar story of the young gun showing off against older gallopers when they won their debut at Randwick over 1000 metres, on a Slow (6) track, in 58.73, something Ryan continues to refer to when asked to talk about Amorino’s Magic Millions chances.
“I’m a great believer in the value of two-year-old form when they run faster sectional times than the older horses on the same day,” Ryan said.
“When Amorino won at Randwick in October he was 0.26 seconds faster than the older horses.
“It’s not often two-year-olds break 1 minute 4 seconds for the 1100 metres and he did it first up.”
Currently Amorino occupies the third line of the Magic Millions Classic odds at Luxbet, trailing only Gai Waterhouse’s undefeated Sydney filly Driefontein and Kelso Wood’s Brisbane improver Sizzling ($3.50 Luxbet), at a drifting price of $7.
Ryan was surprised that Amorino came out from $6 to $7 in the markets after drawing well in barrier eight for Saturday’s showdown, Driefontein in three and Sizzling in six also coming up trumps with the gates.
If the first three emergencies don’t come in, Amorino will came into an even more advantageous gate six, which is right where Ryan wants him.
“If I had a choice before the draw it would have been to start between four and seven, we got eight and after the emergencies come out he will be in six,” Ryan said.
“It is perfect, he has natural speed and I can imagine he will bounce in the first half dozen and take up a position from there.”
Another person who was all smiles over Amorino’s Magic Millions barrier draw was owner Elio Galante.
Galante came close to Magic Millions success 12 months ago when his Sntizel filly Schiffer, also prepared by Ryan, ran three lengths away third to Karuta Queen in the Classic, and he is hopeful Amorino can get the job done for him on Saturday.
“It is a big relief because you don’t want to draw wide,” Galante said of the gate.
“The horse arrived this morning (Tuesday) and put his head straight into the bin and licked it out.
“He is very professional, nothing fazes him.
“We hope to go one better this year.”
Jim Cassidy has again been booked to ride Amorino in the MM Classic having partnered with the up-and-comer for their opening two, the hoop after his third win following his success aboard Catnipped (1998) and Dancers Joy (Fillies-only, 1990).
“We are very happy to have Jimmy (Cassidy on board),” Galante said.
Following a spell after Saturday’s assignment Amorino will be bought back to target the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on April 7, Easter Saturday, the Golden Slipper Stakes being the richest race for two-year-olds in the world.
“The Golden Slipper has been the race we have aimed him for from day one,” Galante said.
“Being here at the Gold Coast is a bonus.
“This race fits well with the plan Gerald mapped out for him.”
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