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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


MONDAY: December 26, 2022: HAWKESBURY’S Magic Millions contender Fire Lane won’t race again before the $2m classic at the Gold Coast on January 14.

But her trainer Brad Widdup is leaving no stone unturned to give the filly every chance to provide him with his richest success in terms of prizemoney.

Fire Lane boosted her Magic Millions stocks when she defeated the more fancied youngsters Platinum Jubilee and Empire Of Japan in the 2YO Plate (1100m) at Royal Randwick on Christmas Eve.

Her Millions odds were cut from $26 to $11, whereas the pair she beat are $6 co-favorites for the 1200m feature.

“It’s not necessary to start Fire Lane again before the Magic Millions,” Widdup said this morning.

“She has pulled up really well, and is a very straight forward filly who eats well and is sensible.

“Whilst she won’t have another start before the Magic Millions, I will send her north about 10 days before the race.

“Fire Lane will need only one more good gallop, and I will do that on the Saturday morning a week before the race.

“A good barrier draw is going to be vital to her chances.”

Fire Lane gave Hawkesbury’s leading trainer his 30th season winner (including a Group 1 breakthrough with Icebath in the $1m Empire Rose Stakes at Flemington on October 29).

Widdup has had only one previous runner in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic.

That was Witherspoon, who drew awkwardly and finished 13th to Sunlight in the 2018 edition.

Whereas Witherspoon had raced three times and was placed twice at Doomben in the MM lead-up, Fire Lane has also raced on three occasions and is going in with much better form.

She won the Max Lees Classic (900m) on debut at Newcastle on November 12 before finishing fourth to Sovereign Fund in the Wyong Magic Millions (1100m) on December 14, then added the weekend Randwick race to her record.

A $330,000 Magic Millions buy at the beginning of the year, the Hellbent filly is raced by BK Racing & Breeding and their racing manager Ben Vassallo.

Whilst Widdup understandably was disappointed not to clinch a Christmas Eve double at Randwick, he certainly wasn’t downcast with Ausbred Flirt’s close second in the Benchmark 72 Handicap (1600m).

Following two hollow victories at Kembla Grange, the Maurice mare went to town and tried to lead throughout under 57kg before being overhauled by Estadio Mestella in the closing stages.

“Ausbred Flirt did a terrific job, especially as it was a class record (1:34.53),” Widdup said.

“But I’m not sure what to do with her in the immediate future as there isn’t really a lot around in the coming weeks.

“She is at her best on the good tracks, and I don’t want to bring her back for winter racing when the ground is usually rain-affected.

“She might have a short break, and race again in February or March.”

. Fellow Hawkesbury trainer Edward Cummings clinched his fourth win of the season when Spanish Pearl trounced her Wyong rivals on Christmas Eve.

Now raced by Cummings’ wife Sarah, the seven-year-old mare started at $13 in the Class 1 Handicap (1350m), and scored easily with Louise Day aboard.

Spanish Pearl’s odds were surprising given her strong-finishing second on her home track on December 4 when resuming.

This was only the second success of her 21-start career, but she has been placed on 11 occasions.

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