The Team Snowden trained Calanda will carry the...
Canberra-based mare Capital Commander returns to Queensland’s Gold Coast Racecourse this Saturday with the Nick Olive-trained five-year-old ready to defend her title in the 2013 Magic Millions Fillies & Mares Handicap.
Olive has spent the past year planning the daughter of Command’s second assault on the $164,000 Magic Millions Fillies & Mares Handicap (1300m), the event due to run as the Gold Coast Race 3 at 1:25pm, and is confident she has what it takes to go back-to-back.
“It has been a plan of ours for a long time now, actually since she won the race last year,” Olive said.
It has been a long year for the mare however who has failed to win a race since her success on the ‘glitter strip’.
In flying form last spring – summer Capital Commander won three from four races at Canberra, Warwick Farm and finally the Gold Coast when she jumped from barrier one with Glyn Schofield aboard on 56.5kg in the MM Fillies & Mares feature.
This year she faces a much tougher assignment as she prepares to jump the 58kg top-weight, Schofield returning to the saddle, from gate 12 of 16.
Still Olive believes that all his planning and preparation will help out come jump time and that his mare has every chance again.
“I’m really happy with her,” Olive said.
“She’s thrived since arriving up here [at the Gold Coast] and has been working the house down.
“She’s travelling great, probably even better then she was heading into the race last year.”
He is even happy with her weight allocation considering the weights raised 2.5kg after both the Liam Birchley-trained Whateverwhenever and Michael Nolan’s Miss Imagica failed to accept.
“With the weights being raised 2.5kg I thought she got in the weights sensationally,” he said.
“She’s been asked to carry 58.5kg which is only 1.5kg above the bottom weight which is unbelievable for what her rating is and what she has achieved since taking out the race last year.”
Capital Commander has run seven times since she came off a five month spell back in August and has been in excellent form throughout the later part of this preparation.
Proving a perennial runner-up she has finished second in her three most recent runs starting with a devastatingly close finish behind Quidnunc in the Listed The Nivision Handicap (1200m) at Randwick back in October.
She was last seen finishing second to Samui Lad in a 1400m Rosehill feature back on December 15 and Olive believes that keeping her fresh between runs has been the key to her consistency this time in.
“Keeping her a month between runs has really been the key to her, it really has worked wonders,” Olive said.
“Every race I think she just keeps continuing to improve and has been in sensational form.”
The punters seem to agree with Capital Commander the early Magic Millions Fillies & Mares market mover into $4.50 occupying the third line of betting behind Grahame Begg’s last start Canterbury winner Bennetta ($3.20) and the David Hayes-trained Mosse Diva ($4.20).
Olive’s only concern for Saturday however is her double digit draw where she need to get away well and avoid traffic to be in the finish, the trainer hoping Schofield can help her do just that.
“The only downer for us is her poor draw, that’s something I wish I could change but obviously we can’t,” Olive said.
“That’s the only thing I can fault though heading into the race.
“He’s [Glyn Schofield] a great rider and rode her to victory last year so hopefully lightning can strike twice for us.”
Whether you are tipping Olive’s Canberra raider or backing another filly or mare in the race, the best Gold Coast Magic Millions Day odds are available online now at bookmaker.com.au – the only online bookie in Oz allowing you to Pick Your Own Odds!
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