OCTOBER 29, 2023: STEVE O’Halloran wasn’t sure he was “feeling the magic” in a tricky finish to Queanbeyan’s first $50,000 Super Maiden today!
So he was greatly relieved when, after a lengthy delay, his three-year-old gelding Feel The Magic ($10) got the verdict in the Showcase Plate (1000m), giving him his first win of the season.
“The three horses were all well apart from each other at the line and I wasn’t sure who had won,” O’Halloran said before returning home.
“The way my luck has been I thought I had been beaten again.”
He was referring to the fact that he has had six placings (four of them seconds) from his previous 10 starters.
Whilst O’Halloran has been craving another winner, at least Feel The Magic’s jockey Shaun Guymer went into the race in good form, having ridden eight winners from his previous 23 rides – and was chasing a hat-trick.
Guymer won the Kembla Grange closer yesterday on $20 outsider Bully For You, and then brought $4.40 favorite Hardazhell from a seemingly impossible position to score earlier on the Queanbeyan program.
Guymer drove Feel The Magic through near the inside, and the photo-finish print showed he had nudged out Man From Brussells ($11), who finished wide out on the track.
Fellow Hawkesbury representative, Claire Lever’s first starter and well-backed Russian Zarina ($6.50), was a close third in the middle and didn’t help her chances by not racing truly in the straight.
O’Halloran, who prepared seven winners from his Hawkesbury stable last season, took over Feel The Magic’s preparation after he had trialled on three occasions (including a Hawkesbury 790m win in May) for Royal Randwick trainer Michael Freedman.
“I trained Martini Crusader for Pulse Thoroughbreds, and they asked me to give Feel The Magic a try,” O’Halloran explained.
“He was a bag of nerves when he arrived, and I didn’t really want to kick him off at home earlier in the month, but it was simply a matter of walking him across the road from the stable.
“He ran eighth to Gustosisimo, who won again on the Kensington track last Wednesday, and it did him a lot of good.
“Feel The Magic’s work since the October 8 race has been really pleasing, and the Queanbeyan event, being worth such good money, fitted in nicely for his second start.
“Hopefully he can take a bit of confidence from breaking through today.”
A gelded son of Rubick, Feel The Magic is the first foal of the Rip Van Winkle mare Dream Genie (who raced only six times), and fetched $40,000 when offered as a yearling in Adelaide last year.
Feel The Magic was the Hawkesbury training base’s 47th winner of the season – and the 15th this month.