This Saturday well-bred Kiwi colt Travino will be out to repeat the feat of their boom sire General Nediym from 14 years ago and take out the Magic Millions 2012 Classic at the Gold Coast.
The Peter McKay-trained colt comes off three straight wins back in their native New Zealand giving them the right form to take out the $2 million BMW Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m), but a horror barrier 17 draw for the feature saw their chances take a turn for the worse.
Former turf hero General Nediym outclassed a crack field to win the MM Classic back in 1997, and since then has gone on to sire two subsequent winners in the race with Regimental Gal (2001) and Military Rose (2010).
Matamata-based horseman McKay is hopeful Travino, who he trains and owns, can become the third this year.
At their two most recent runs Travino became a dual stakes winner taking out the Listed Murdoch Newell Stakes (1100m) at Pukekohe in November and the Listed Wentwood Grange Stakes (1100m) at Te Rapa on December 10.
How this New Zealand form will stack up against the Aussies in the Magic Millions Classic is questionable, but McKay has his fingers crossed.
“He’s superior to the two-year-olds here but I’ve got no idea how he’ll measure up over there till we get there,” McKay admitted.
If they overcome the odds and the gate, Travino will enter the history books as the first New Zealand-trained juvenile to win the MM Classic.
The last two-year-old Kiwi to try was Stephen Autridge’s Te Akau Joke who finished 12th to winner Winger Charger back in 1996.
“No New Zealand two-year-old has gone over for a crack at this race (recently) so we’ve got no idea where we stand,” McKay said.
“I didn’t want to push this horse to get there – I just wanted him to find his own way.
“Everything he’s done on his own accord.
“I’m going over there with a horse who has had an easy preparation.
“Sure he’s had five races but he’s done it easily and it hasn’t taxed him at all.”
Travino is McKay’s 11th Magic Millions yearling purchase over the years but will be his first starter in the MM Classic after he withdrew Estrato before acceptance stage for last year’s edition.
“He’s the right sort of horse to take there,” McKay said.
“He’s a big bullish horse and he’s got speed and a bit of street smarts, and that’s all going to help.
“It’s quite exciting…I’m just really looking forward to the race.”
Travino is going to need all the luck he can get from the gate, which becomes 14 if the emergencies don’t gain a start, and as such is rated a $51 outsider in the Magic Millions Classic odds at Luxbet.
Betting on the showdown is led by the two horses that ran the quinella in the Group 3 BJ McLachlan Stakes (1200m) at Doomben on New Year’s Eve – Gai Waterhouse’s front-running filly Drieftontein ($3.20 Luxbet) and the Kelso Wood-trained Sizzling ($3.50 Luxbet).
While hopeful heading into it, McKay knows that the bookies probably have it right.
“We’ve been following what’s been going around over there and there’s been a few new ones come on the scene,” he said.
“Gai Waterhouse’s filly is obviously very smart, she ran a track record the other week and led them a merry chase.
“It’s a hot field and the fillies look really dominant.
“But we’re happy with our horse.
“We’ll go over and see how we measure up.
“I’ve got no false illusions about how easy it’s going to be but if we can run in the first five or six it will encourage us to go back.”
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