Chris Symons retains the ride on the Brendan McCarthy-trained Murt The Flirt at Wyong on Thursday with the horse out to capitalise on the Magic Millions Stakes 2016 being open to four-year-olds for the first time.
Due to jump at 3:15pm (AEST) as Race 4 on the seven event program, this season’s $100,000 Wyong Magic Millions 3YO & 4YO Stakes (1200m) attracted 11 hopefuls.
Wearing the number one saddlecloth but drawn the outside alley in the restricted set weights sprint is McCarthy’s now four-year-old Murtajill gelding Murt The Flirt.
Twelve months ago as a three-year-old he ran fifth beaten only 1.7 lengths by the winner Aerobar in the same race at just his second start on the back of a Ballarat Magic Millions 3YO Stakes win last November.
Travelling to the Gold Coast after that he ran in the lucrative Magic Millions 3YO Guineas in Queensland over 1400m and was fifth again behind Deiheros, doing it tough from barrier 16 of 16.
“If we had drawn a decent alley I think he could have gone close to winning it,” McCarthy told Racenet this week thinking back on the Gold Coast run earlier this year.
Since then he has finished out of the money just once when ninth to Jabali in the Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m) over the Doomben mile in June.
Last time out he returned to winning form for the first time since April with a narrow victory over Wild Rain in the Ballarat Magic Millions 3YO & 4YO Classic (1100m).
Now he is back at Wyong for the equivalent showdown and Symons is back aboard for his fifth ride on the lightly raced but consistent galloper.
He missed the Wyong Magic Millions run last summer, Brenton Avdulla aboard for it and the Gold Coast edition, and Caulfield-based McCarthy will instruct Symons to take the horse forward this time round from the wide gate.
“Unfortunately Chris was sidelined last year after a shoulder operation but Brenton (Avdulla) did a great job,” McCarthy said.
“However Chris loves this horse and has ridden him quite a few times and has won twice on him.
“He knows the horse and what he is capable of.
“Last year we drew barrier seven in a field of nine and this year we have the drawn the outside barrier in a field of 11.
“We won’t be going back like we did last year.
“I want Chris to go forward.”
Wyong Magic Millions 3YO & 4YO Stakes betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au, who are offering Best Tote or SP + 20% on Thursday’s Wyong Magic Millions 2YO Classic at the same meeting, have the rails-drawn Flamboyant Lass as the firming $2.80 favourite.
She is followed in the odds by Flippant ($3.20) while Murt The Flirt and his wide draw is paying $15 after sitting as short as $12 earlier in the week, an inflated price according to his trainer.
“He is a much bigger, stronger more mature horse now and he knows what racing is all about,” McCarthy said.
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