There is one galloper in Saturday’s Magic Millions Trophy (2200m) at the Gold Coast that seems a little out of place.
Every runner in the 16-horse field stepped out over at least 1600m at their most recent start, bar the Matt Cumani-trained Sylpheed who contested the G3 Standish Handicap over 1200m.
Sylpheed finished second last in the Flemington straight-course feature on New Year’s Day, having her second start for the preparation following a third at Pakenham over 1200m.
The mare’s progression – 1200m, 1200m, 2200m – had a few racing observers crying clerical error – “they’ve put her in the wrong race” – but Cumani told Punters.com.au that isn’t the case.
— Stephen Rodgers (@Steve_Rodgers) January 9, 2019
Surely this is an admin error? #WrongRace?
— Raph Lewski (@Geppetto16) January 9, 2019
“After the Standish I realised that she’s quite clearly not a 1200m horse and my aim was to work her up to the mile but the owner thought we should shortcut it and go to the 2200m, which is a bit extreme, but that’s our target and that’s what we are employed to do,” Cumani said.
Saturday’s ‘shortcut’ race is worth a staggering $ 1 million, with $ 600,000 going to the winner.
The horse’s Japanese owner, Mr Sekiguchi, clearly has a high opinion of the five-year-old mare who had stints with Gai Waterhouse and Toby Edmonds before joining Cumani’s Ballarat stable.
“She’s an interesting mare. She came to my stable (in December last year) with a list of Group One races that she must run in, including the Lightning and C.F Orr and races like that. The owner has a fascinating view of her ability and where she’s headed,” Cumani said.
“We’ve had to just change a few things in the last couple of weeks with her training. Whether she stays or not is down to her pedigree really (Real Saga x Domitilla).
“I haven’t had her long so we’ve only really got her half-fit, but the main challenge for me is to change her attitude – her approach. She probably has the mentality that she’s got to get out of the barriers and go flat out. We just have to try and convince her to settle down and relax in behind horses and finish off at the end of a long race,” Cumani said.
“She’s a lovely mare. She’s consistent, she’s tough, she’s small but she’s sound.”
Mr Sekiguchi decided Sylpheed needed a change of scenery following three unplaced efforts – all in Group races – over the Melbourne spring carnival.
“We got her because I’ve got a Japanese track rider and he knows the owner and knows the horse’s regular rider Nozi Tomizawa and he suggested that the horse come to me when the owner was looking for a new trainer.
“He (Sekiguchi) liked that we are in the bush, so to speak. It’s a bit complicated dealing with him largely through my track rider, but I’m happy to accept the challenge,” Cumani said.
Sylpheed has never raced beyond a mile, with her one and only start over 1600m resulting in a fifth placing in the 2017 Queensland Guineas won by Salsonic.
Bookies opened the mare at $ 61 for Saturday’s assignment, the fourth race on the lucrative nine-event card.
Having a bet on the Magic Millions meeting?
Place a bet with BetEasy on any Gold Coast race that results on Saturday, 12 January to earn the chance to win a 5% share in a Tony McEvoy selected 2019 Magic Millions yearling. Excludes residents of ACT, NSW & SA.