Coolangatta holds off Russian Conquest in 2YO Magic Millions

The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Coolangatta has fended off a fast-finishing Russian Conquest to win the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic.

COOLANGATTA winning the The Star Magic Millions 2yo Classic at Gold Coast in Australia.
COOLANGATTA winning the The Star Magic Millions 2yo Classic at Gold Coast in Australia. Picture: Steve Hart

It took a brave pre-corner move from jockey James McDonald, but the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-prepared two-year-old filly Coolangatta ($1.95F) has proven too strong for her rivals in the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast

The Written Tycoon progeny has staved off second favourite Russian Conquest ($6) by a neck, with Snitcat ($26) a further two and a quarter lengths back in third. 

It was a peach of a ride by champion hoop James Mcdonald who was able to get across from barrier 10 to slot in a one-out one-back position upon settling, and get into a comfortable rhythm during the middle stages. 

Not wanting to get blocked in with runners circling the field as they approached the turn, McDonald opted to to get going early three-wide off the heels of the leaders, a tactic that proved to be the winning difference. 

Co-trainer Ciaron Maher was full of praise for McDonald, although he may have had a few hairy moments during the run. 

"J Mac when he went a bit early I thought 'oh god', he made me a little nervous," Maher said. 

"He's good under pressure, he's a great man. A great job by the team." 

Part-owner Brae Sokolski was equally effusive of the ride by McDonald and was grateful he was able to navigate a perfect run from barrier ten. 

"If it wasn't James McDonald you couldn't imagine it, but with him you expect it," Sokolski said. 

"Landing in that one-out one back was perfect, he was very confident he had a lot of horse under him.

"He took off nice and early and put them to the sword." 

As to McDonald himself, the pressure of riding an odds-on favourite in a big race like the Magic Millions was not lost on the Melbourne Cup winning hoop. 

"It was a great thrill to ride such a dominant favourite in the race, it comes with big expectations," McDonald said. 

"I was glad to be able to aid her with a nice ride. 

"Especially with a hype horse like she is, she's been a dominant favourite for a long time." 

Coolangatta will now have a short spell before being aimed at the Golden Slipper at Rosehill Gardens on March 19. She is currently $4 favourite with the TAB for the $5 million feature. 


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