A great training effort from Sydney’s Gary Portelli today saw the well-travelled Straturbo win his season Grand Final with a big win in the Magic Millions Open Sprint 2015 at the Gold Coast Racecourse.
The five-year-old Stratum gelding has raced in three states since August starting at home in Sydney at Randwick.
He then travelled to Melbourne for a two run assault this spring – summer season before his trip to Queensland for today’s lucrative $200,000 Myer Magic Millions Open Sprint (1100m).
Last seen running a battling seventh when weakening at the furlong after a run with no cover in a Benchmark 90 over 1000m down the Flemington straight, Straturbo didn’t look great in the yard sweating up before his Magic Millions run.
He proved a better horse than he looked pre-race however thanks to a sweeping ride from a wide gate for Sydney-based hoop James McDonald who enjoyed two wins and a second in the first four races at the Gold Coast Magic Millions Race Day.
“I love it when a plan comes together,” Portelli said post-win.
“We targeted this race a long time ago I thought it might have been a race he could be competitive in.”
Race favourite in the Open Sprint and the market mover was the returning Liam Birchley-trained Missy Longstocking who was ridden quietly early by jockey Glen Colless.
The speed was on early, as in every race at the track on Magic Millions Day, with Kelso Wood’s Seeking More leading them around at a smart pace.
The Robert Heathcote-trained Excellantes was beaten for speed in the battle with Missy Longstocking tracking alongside the veteran sprinter.
On the swing with 400m left to travel Seeking More held the lead while Missy Longstocking tried to get through.
She drove up along the fence after Seeking More kicked away at the 300m before late runs coming from the back including the eventual winner Straturbo, who travelled too hard over-racing throughout, and the Gary Moore-trained Happy Galaxy.
On the line though Straturbo ($7) got the better run and beat home Nadeem stallion Happy Galaxy ($11), who looked back in form after a string of disappointing runs throughout the past 12 months including a last start ninth in the Listed Canterbury Classic (1200m) on December 27, by half a length.
Missy Longstocking ($2.80F) then snared third only a nose further back after getting caught in the traffic jam at the top of the straight, eventually finishing off well once she finally got into the clear.
“We were wide early but after they sorted themselves out there was a line of four, I was just behind that,” McDonald said after the win.
“A good effort.
“The field was very even and he saluted.
“They’re running quick times for sure.”
Portelli, who described the victory as a “great thrill” for connections at Elite Thoroughbreds said Straturbo would now be sent back home for a break before deciding what next for the galloper.
“Today was the Grand Final,” he said.
“This is a big win for him he’s won $120,000 in prize money. Now most of the races in Sydney are worth only $50,000 to the winner and he’d be struggling to win those.”
Portelli snared Straturbo up for only $40,000 at the Magic Millions Sales and said there were stars to be found at a great price if you knew what to look for as a trainer.
“This little fella we thought we stole him (for the price) and we went and bought his brother the next year and he was (subsequent Group 3 winner) I’m All The Talk who was only a $50,000 horse,” he said, adding he had bought seven more horse from the MM Sales so far this year.
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2015 Magic Millions Open Sprint Results & Finishing Order
Gold Coast Race 4 – 10/01/2015
|1||9||STRATURBO||Gary Portelli||James McDonald||–||11||54kg||$7|
|2||3||HAPPY GALAXY||Gary Moore||Damien Oliver||0.4L||12||56kg||$9|
|3||5||MISSY LONGSTOCKING||Liam Birchley||Glen Colless||0.6L||9||54kg||$2.80F|
|4||4||SEEKING MORE||Kelso Wood||Michael Cahill||0.8L||1||54.5kg||$6.50|
|5||1||EXCELLANTES||Robert Heathcote||Christian Reith||1.8L||5||58.5kg||$8|
|6||12||FLORIDA FELLOW||Bryan Guy||Brenton Avdulla||2.6L||2||54kg||$61|
|7||8||PICKABEE||Caitlin Lavin||Timothy Bell||3.1L||8||54kg||$13|
|8||10||LENNIE’S CHOICE||Kelly Schweida||Chris Munce||4.9L||3||54kg||$51|
|9||7||PLATINUM STATE||Bryan Guy||Tommy Berry||5.9L||7||54kg||$12|
|10||13e||CELESTIAL DRAGON||Stuart Kendrick||Daniel Griffin||6.9L||4||54kg||$17|
|11||11||STATE OF WEALTH||Graham Pollock||Eddie Wilkinson||8.7L||10||54kg||$31|
|12||6||MISS MEGA HERZ||Patrick Sexton||Shannon Apthorpe||17.5L||6||54kg||$41|
|–||14e||SEPT DE COEURS||Stuart Kendrick||–||–||0||–||–|
|–||2||WHITTINGTON||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||–||0||–||–|