McDonald Tips Magic Night for Italy Ahead of Golden Slipper

A host of young fillies looking for the 2015 Golden Slipper ballot exemption face off in Saturday’s Magic Night Stakes at Rosehill including Italy whose hoop James McDonald rates her a livewire chance for both races.

James McDonald

Sydney-based James McDonald believes Italy can be competitive in Saturday’s 2015 Magic Night Stakes at Rosehill Gardens. Photo: Race Horse Photos Australia.

There are 14 two-year-old fillies making up the field for the $175,000 Group 2 Magic Night Stakes (1200m) on Coolmore Classic Day this weekend, the favourite of which at is the undefeated Chris Waller-trained Always Allison.

Drawn wide in barrier 11, the More Than Ready filly comes off a Group 2 Sweet Embrace Stakes (1200m) win from February 28 and connections could be tempted to pay the hefty $150,000 late entry to get her into Saturday week’s $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) field if she wins again this weekend.

Number one rider for Godolphin down under, McDonald meanwhile rides the John O’Shea-trained Domesday filly in the race Italy.

She has fared better with her barrier eight draw and pays $8 in the latest Magic Night Stakes odds.

A winner of one of her three starts to date over 1100m at Canterbury on February 11, Italy also comes via the Sweet Embrace Stakes when James Doyle rode her into fifth just two and a half lengths off Always Allison after being checked a number of times during the run.

McDonald was aboard for her win the start before and is happy to reunite with the filly he rates a solid chance to improve off of what she did last time out heading into the Golden Slipper.

“I also like the filly, Italy in the Magic Night (Stakes),” he told The Daily Telegraph after spruiking his Phar Lap Stakes ride on Saturday, Hauraki.

“I thought her run the other day was better than it looked and if she wins this expect her to be competitive next week in the Slipper.”

Always Allison is at $21 in futures Golden Slipper odds at Ladbrokes while Italy is at a far more generous $81 for the world’s richest race for two-year-olds, a big price according to McDonald.

The last filly to complete the Magic Night Stakes – Golden Slipper double meanwhile was the Bruce Brown-trained Calaway Gal back in 2002.

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