The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained filly Steel City was huge dominating the 2023 Magic Night Stakes results from barrier to box to head into the world’s richest race for two-year-olds, Saturday week’s Group 1 $5 million Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m), on the back of her strongest performance yet.
The progressive daughter of Merchant Navy from one of the country’s most prolific stables was the heavily-backed favourite in the Group 3 $200,000 Magic Night Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on Coolmore Classic Day.
She did it from both ends, jockey Regan Bayliss using the favourite’s inside draw to hold out her rivals for the lead which she held all-the-way to the finishing post to win in bullish fashion.
Steel City brought in the strong form lines around the Golden Slipper favourite Learning To Fly having run second two back behind the subsequent Inglis Millennium – Reisling Stakes double winner in the Group 3 Widden Stakes (1100m) in late January.
The team then took her south for the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) where she finished 12th to Little Brose only 3.55 lengths beaten.
Back in Sydney fourth-up and fit she was far too good for the other fillies in the Magic Night Stakes field running sharp time to secure the final spot in next weekend’s Golden Slipper 2023 field.
“Last time she ran here I just thought that last furlong she just lacked that bit of focus,” co-trainer Ciaron Maher told the media post-win.
“I was hoping that would happen last start (in the Blue Diamond) but anyway we’ll take it today.
“We’ll see how she pulls up and as you know we’ll have a look at next week (Golden Slipper), and the owners can dare to dream.
“She’s won really well here today, she’s really at home here in New South Wales, she’s spent a lot of her time here. She’s settled back into the routine, the team have done a good job with her.
“Even after the run it was a big occasion for a two-year-old filly to run in a Diamond.
“Even though it looked like she didn’t extend herself, it still takes a fair bit out of them so really managed her recovery and got her back up here.
“It was just about keeping her happy and we didn’t really have to do any work with her, it was just about presenting for today and giving her an opportunity.”
Bayliss is also being considered for the prized Slipper mount on Steel City following the hoop’s performance in the Magic Night.
“He didn’t do much wrong there so we’ll have to have a look at Regan for sure,” Maher confirmed.
Earlier the Chris Waller-trained Shinzo won his way into the Golden Slipper taking out the Pago Pago Stakes in 1 minute 10.56 seconds.
The fillies’ equivalent looks a stronger form line to follow into the Grand Final with Steel City taking out the Magic Night in a smart 1 minute 10.08 seconds.
“She’s just the ultimate professional,” winning hoop Bayliss said of Steel City.
“She’s not overly big, but gee she’s got a good motor on her.
“Blinkers have really switched her on. Didn’t get to see that last start but she was electric today, bounced out well and was always sitting in their hands and exploded when I asked her.”
After turning in front she was nursed by Bayliss in the lead down the straight and was super impressive late improving over the final furlong to easily run out the 1200m in style.
Putting in her best effort inside the last 100m Steel City ($3F) ripped away to win by a bold margin of 2.66 lengths ahead of the Michael Freedman-trained Inglis Millennium runner-up Blanc De Blanc ($3.60), third last time out in the Sweet Embrace Stakes, who was good from the back making up late ground.
Rounding out the Magic Night Stakes trifecta in a good third was the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained August Bloom ($15) who now heads to the paddock to mature ahead of a spring return.
Kiamichi (2019) was the last filly to complete the Magic Night Stakes – Golden Slipper double.
2023 Magic Night Stakes Results & Finishing Order
|1||6||STEEL CITY||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Regan Bayliss||1||55.5kg||$3F|
|2||1||BLANC DE BLANC||Michael Freedman||James McDonald||2.66L||11||55.5kg||$3.60|
|3||9||AUGUST BLOOM||Peter & Paul Snowden||Tom Sherry||3.04L||12||55.5kg||$15|
|4||3||REMEDIES||James Cummings||Tim Clark||3.31L||3||55.5kg||$6.50|
|5||8||SHINE YOUR LIGHT||Cassandra Stummer||Reece Jones (a)||3.85L||2||55.5kg||$101|
|6||13||UNTOUCHABLE LEGEND||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Ryan Maloney||4.87L||9||55.5kg||$18|
|7||14||HELLBENT ON YOU||John Thompson||Brock Ryan||4.95L||4||55.5kg||$51|
|8||7||TU QUI SANTUZZA||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Brett Prebble||5.1L||5||55.5kg||$5.50|
|9||10||BIANCO NERO||Matthew Smith||Kerrin McEvoy||9.1L||6||55.5kg||$51|
|10||11||PRETTY RHO||Robert & Luke Price||Michael Dee||9.51L||8||55.5kg||$81|
|11||2||FIRE LANE||Brad Widdup||Jay Ford||13.31L||10||55.5kg||$18|
|12||15||KIMMELA||Edward O’Rourke||William Pike||14.65L||7||55.5kg||$101|
|16||TIZ INVINCIBLE||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Zac Lloyd (a)||0|
|4||EMPRESS OF WONDER||Annabel Neasham||Ms Rachel King||0|
|5||MADEIRA SUNRISE||Michael Freedman||Chad Schofield||0|
|12||LADY JEZAM||Gary Portelli||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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