Terry O’Sullivan is daring to dream the Caulfield Cup dream with his progressive stayer Magnapal who will race in the Naturalism Stakes looking to qualify for a Group 1 run after his smart Heatherlie Stakes 2015 win at Caulfield on Memsie Stakes Day.
Closing the nine-race card in Melbourne’s opening Group 1 meeting, the $120,000 Listed Sheen Group Heatherlie Stakes (1700m) featured a field of promising and progressive staying types including the Terry & Karina O’Sullivan-trained Magnus six-year-old Magnapal.
The gelding came off a first-up win over 1400m at Sandown-Hillside, and while O’Sullivan had some doubts about how he would go over 1700m second-up, the tenacious galloper dug deep to score back-to-back August wins in Melbourne.
Jockey Luke Currie retained the ride and gave the Stawell-based Magnapal a peach of a ride, the field led around by Mick Price’s last start winner over 1600m at the track a fortnight back Onpicalo.
The Hussonet six-year-old was fast out the gates and went straight to the front leading from Lord Durante, Maygrove and Bold Sniper.
Halfway through the race Currie took Magnapal up into fourth, race favourite Iggimacool sitting two further back in sixth waiting for a run.
Heading into the straight Onpicalo gave a nice kick as the well-fancied Robert Smerdon-trained mare Iggimacool started to hit her straps coming up the middle.
Magnapal was also improving fast and took the lead from Onpicalo, Iggimacool fighting to make ground but not able to get to the front runner.
On the line Magnapal ($14) beat home Iggimacool ($5) who posted her third straight second place finish on the trot having had her chance, while finishing off the Heatherlie Stakes trifecta that held a notable gap over the rest of the field in a close third was the leader throughout Onpicalo ($10) in a very honest run.
“I got a nice run from a good draw,” Currie said.
“When he came out he showed a good turn of foot and at the top of the straight I was confident he was always going to hold them off.”
Currie gave the winner a beautiful ride one off the fence, while Iggimacool didn’t immediately quicken on the soft ground, which she needed to do to win, but did keep hitting the line in a solid effort.
“Luke’s rides have been sensational on the horse,” winning trainer O’Sullivan said after the win.
“He produced him at the right time.
“He’s been a bit of an underrated horse.
“But he’s come back and he’s had a bit of luck this time.
“The conditions probably helped, he loves these conditions.
“This is nearly perfect for him today…it added up to winning a race.”
Plans are now to go to the $150,000 Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) back at the track on September 19, a race that could lead to a surprise bid at the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 17 for which Magnapal holds a nomination.
“You know he’s tough,” O’Sullivan said.
“He’s raced well at Caulfield.
“His fitness is pretty well.
“The question was stepping up to the 1700m second-up but he’s handled that so I think he’ll go to the 2000m very well.”
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2015 Heatherlie Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Caulfield Race 9 – 29/08/2015
|1||15||MAGNAPAL||Terry & Karina O’Sullivan||Luke Currie||–||2||54kg||$14|
|2||13||IGGIMACOOL||Robert Smerdon||Glen Boss||1.25L||9||54kg||$5EF|
|3||14||ONPICALO||Mick Price||Michael Dee (a)||2L||5||54kg||$10|
|4||12||LORD DURANTE||Simone Ferchie||Darren Gauci||5.75L||6||54kg||$16|
|5||16||DIG A PONY||Peter G Moody||Patrick Moloney (a)||6.5L||8||54kg||$13|
|5||2||EXTRA ZERO||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||6.5L||3||59kg||$12|
|7||3||EXCESS KNOWLEDGE (GB)||Gai Waterhouse||Kerrin McEvoy||6.7L||13||58.5kg||$5EF|
|8||6||BOLD SNIPER (GB)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Rodd||7.1L||4||56kg||$6.50|
|9||4||ESCADO||Matt Laurie||Ben Melham||7.5L||1||58kg||$16|
|10||8||LA AMISTAD||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||James Winks||8.25L||11||55.5kg||$61|
|11||7||MAYGROVE||Murray Baker||Blake Shinn||8.35L||10||56kg||$31|
|12||9||LET’S MAKE ADEAL||Nigel Blackiston||Dwayne Dunn||9.6L||16||55kg||$13|
|13||1||TAIYOO||Darren Weir||John Allen||11.85L||15||60kg||$21|
|14||10||TRAVOLTA (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Stephen Baster||12.6L||7||55kg||$101|
|15||5||SONNTAG||Henry Dwyer||Ms Michelle Payne||13.35L||14||57.5kg||$71|
|16||11||DYLAN’S PROMISE||Darren Weir||Chris Parnham||17.35L||12||54kg||$91|
|–||18e||ANOTHER LAD AL||Ken Keys||–||–||0||–||–|
|–||17e||PACIFIC HEIGHTS (IRE)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||–||–||0||–||–|