In the second closest result of the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, the money in the Hall Mark Stakes 2016 at Randwick Racecourse on All Aged Stakes Day went to the lightly-raced Bjorn Baker-trained Music Magnate.
On the line there looked to be nothing separating the eventual winning son of Written Tycoon and the late lunging Knoydart from the Godolphin stables in the $150,000 Group 3 Hall Mark Stakes (1200m).
After a few minutes of consultation, the result went the way of the returning four-year-old Music Magnate who was first-up over the 1200m not having raced since posting back-to-back Sydney wins over 1400m in September – October last year.
His Warwick Farm-based trainer Baker wasn’t exactly confident heading into the race, despite the galloper having won a Randwick trial over 742m on April 8 leading up to his return.
Post-win however Baker was full of confidence looking ahead to the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, Music Magnate looking a nice type for the $1.5 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm Racecourse on June 11.
Now a winner of five of his 10 starts to date, Music Magnate was having his first black-type run since a second to subsequent Coolmore Classic winner Peeping in the Listed Darby Munro Stakes (1200m) in March last year.
Brenton Avdulla retained the ride having his fifth straight mount on the progressive galloper who he said he’d always had a big opinion of.
“He’s a talented horse going forward,” he said after the relief of seeing he’d won the race after thinking he’d been snared late.
“He’s a horse I’ve had a bit to do with so it’s a great result.”
It was a very competitive line out from the barriers in this year’s Hall Mark Stakes, Music Magnate away well along with the favourite Speak Fondly.
Gai Waterhouse’s Group 1 winning filly went to the front to lead, while the eventual winner tracked in second moving up to sit only a neck off Speak Fondly on the turn.
Down the straight the John O’Shea-trained More Than Ready six-year-old Knoydart, coming off a second last when 14th to Chautauqua in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at the track and distance on April 2, started working into the clear.
Music Magnate eventually hit the front, but it was a thrilling finish with Knoydart and his hoop Tim Clark getting out and charging late to lunge on the line.
The photo showed Music Magnate ($5.50) had held on by the barest of margins scoring on the inside of the more experienced Knoydart ($31), while third went to the always honest Fast ‘N’ Rocking ($11) who also came off a TJ Smith Stakes run when eighth on Day 1 of ‘The Championships’.
“Very tight,” winning trainer Baker said of the Hall Mark Stakes result.
“You need a little bit of luck but it was a good effort first-up.
“I think he’s got a heap of improvement and it gives you a heap of confidence going forward.”
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2016 Hall Mark Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Randwick Race 6 – 16/04/2016
|1||11||MUSIC MAGNATE (NZ)||Bjorn Baker||Brenton Avdulla||–||9||56kg||$5.50|
|2||5||KNOYDART||John O’Shea||Tim Clark||0.1L||7||57.5kg||$31|
|3||2||FAST ’N’ ROCKING||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Dwayne Dunn||0.3L||1||58kg||$11|
|4||10||FEDERAL||John O’Shea||James McDonald||0.4L||10||57kg||$8|
|5||3||TARGET IN SIGHT||Joseph Pride||Hugh Bowman||0.5L||6||58kg||$5.50|
|6||1||CHARLIE BOY||Peter & Paul Snowden||Blake Shinn||1.6L||4||58.5kg||$9.50|
|7||6||SPEAK FONDLY||Gai Waterhouse||Tye Angland||1.7L||5||57kg||$3.60F|
|8||4||BACHMAN||Gerald Ryan||Kerrin McEvoy||1.9L||8||58kg||$14|
|9||8||ARTLEE||Todd Willan||Mitchell Bell||2.8L||3||57kg||$9|
|10||9||ZIN ZAN EDDIE||Matthew Smith||Jay Ford||3.3L||2||57kg||$101|
|–||12||MY FAVORITE||Clarry Conners||Sam Clipperton||–||0||–||–|
|–||7||THAT’S A GOOD IDEA||Peter & Paul Snowden||Glyn Schofield||–||0||–||–|