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Plenty of boxes are being ticked by the now Lindsay Park-trained Vega Magic who chases an upset win in Saturday’s 2017 The Goodwood over the defending champion Black Heart Bart.
The bulk of the money at Ladbrokes.com.au for this year’s $1 million Group 1 Darley Goodwood (1200m) is on the Darren Weir-trained Black Heart Bart ($3.50) to make history with successive victories in the Adelaide sprint.
That feat hasn’t been achieved since Musket Belle (1911-12), but there is no denying the class of Black Heart Bart whose latest run was a Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) victory at Caulfield in late February.
Also at single-figures in The Goodwood betting this Adelaide Autumn Racing Carnival occupying the second line of the markets at $6.50 is Vega Magic.
Black Heart Bart jumps from last year’s winning barrier (2), while Lope De Vega four-year-old Vega Magic is drawn ideally in barrier six.
The gelding has to date done all of his racing in WA creating a record that stands at nine wins, two seconds and a third from 14 starts.
On Saturday he makes his Adelaide debut on the back of a two length win in Ascot’s Group 3 A.J. Scahill Stakes (1400m) in December last year.
A horse that runs well fresh, The Goodwood 2017 Form Guide shows Vega Magic has the highest Win (65%) and Place (86%) rate of the horses in the field.
While he is not as well performed as many of his rivals, Saturday being just his second Group 1 assignment, the camp is quietly confident.
In late November Vega Magic ran in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) in Perth and his mid-field seventh to Takedown saw him beaten only one and a half lengths.
Black Heart Bart was Weir’s second The Goodwood winner joining the mare Platelet (2013), but the sole Hayes-trained champion of the event was Romantic Son prepared by Colin Hayes back in 1971.
Colin’s grandson Ben now trains in partnership with his father David Hayes and cousin Tom Dabernig, and Ben believes the nice Flemington jump-out by Vega Magic has the horse on track for Saturday.
“We’re confident … but there’s a five-time Group 1 winner in the race [in Black Heart Bart] and we’ve got to beat him first, so we’ve got to be realistic,” Hayes told The Advertiser.
“It’s a big step up in grade and a quality field but we think he’ll put up a very good run.
“He arrived a couple of months ago at Euroa. He’s had about 80 days’ work now, so he’s been in work a long time.
“His trial leading into this race was fantastic. He had a jump-out at Flemington and Craig [Williams] was thrilled with him.
“He got off with glowing reports and said he’d be very hard to beat in the Goodwood.”
Williams retains The Goodwood Group 1 ride on the weekend and Hayes said comparisons were there to be made between Vega Magic and the team’s fellow WA-expat Sheidel who won Caulfield’s Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) on Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes Day.
“Vega Magic has a similar form line to Sheidel and she’s come out and won a Group 1 since,” he said.
“I think that suggests he’s definitely around the mark.”
Hayes also rated the barrier six draw as “perfect”, despite the gate not producing a The Goodwood winner since Euclase in 1992.
“I think the barrier is just perfect for him,” he said.
“He’s a horse who likes to float in his races and Craig will be able to just have him there and keep him in a nice rhythm.
“In all of his races in Perth, he’s been dug out of the barriers and raced right on the speed. I don’t think we’ll change that.
“We’ll give him lots of galloping room.
“Hopefully he’s sitting just off them and looming into it from the corner.”
To back Vega Magic to win The Goodwood 2017 at the right price head to Ladbrokes.com.au now.
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