Goldol­phin claim their first Clas­sic with iron filly Ex­hil­a­rates

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - SPORT - NATHAN EXELBY RACING EDI­TOR

KER­RIN McEvoy added an­other rich prize to his bulging tro­phy cabi­net as Godol­phin made an omi­nous state­ment in its first tilt on the Magic Mil­lions 2YO Clas­sic at the Gold Coast with iron filly Ex­hil­a­rates yesterday.

Ex­hil­a­rates set­tled much fur­ther back than ex­pected, but came with a sus­tained burst in the straight to clock the third fastest Magic Mil­lions time ever.

Godol­phin only re-en­tered the buy­ing fray at Magic Mil­lions last year and Ex­hil­a­rates was one of eight year­lings they pur­chased. It was Godol­phin’s new Aus­tralian man­ager Vin Cox, for­merly Magic Mil­lions manag­ing di­rec­tor, who sug­gested the or­gan­i­sa­tion needed to rein­vig­o­rate its blood­stock and start buy­ing year­lings again.

“I knew we had a cou­ple of nice horses but it is tough to get a run­ner,” Cox said.

“This week, once she was in the field, I tried not to think about it, but just be­fore the race I turned to my wife and said ‘I re­ally want to win this race’.

“It is like the per­fect end for me and be­gin­ning rolled into one.

“We have had a great year at Godol­phin, but for me per­son­ally, this is out­stand­ing.”

Godol­phin’s Aus­tralian trainer James Cum­mings now joins his fa­mous grand­fa­ther Bart on the Magic Mil­lions hon­our roll.

“In the first year we’ve been buy­ing year­lings we’ve made a bit of a state­ment that we can buy the right ones and we’ve got the right sys­tem to get them to show their true po­ten­tial,” he said.

“Bart was a fair trainer of two-year-olds (as well as stay­ers) and he taught me well.

“I also got taught by my father (An­thony) and had a few years watch­ing Gai (Waterhouse) and Peter Snow­den when he came to Rand­wick and they prob­a­bly re­gret show­ing me some of the things they did.

“It’s such a won­der­ful thing for a young trainer to have horses like Ex­hil­a­rates at my feet.”

It was also a first Magic Mil­lions win for McEvoy, adding to the two Ever­ests and two Melbourne Cups he has won since Novem­ber 2016.

McEvoy’s mounts have won more than $50 mil­lion in the last two-and-a-half sea­sons with other seven-fig­ure races in that time in­clud­ing a Golden Rose, Tan­cred Stakes, Queen of the Turf, Sydney Cup and Dar­ley Clas­sic.

He went within a smidgen’ of land­ing the big dou­ble yesterday, with Bondi a breath away from win­ning the Guineas.

“After be­gin­ning a bit sticky, she was able to get out of trou­ble and get in the clear and she ham­mered home the last 400m,” McEvoy said.

“I was wor­ried at the 600m, but I was able to get on the back of Hughie (Bowman) and High­tail and they took me into the race and I was able to get off his back. “Full credit to the filly. “She’s not very big, but she’s so game and ob­vi­ously has a nice motor un­der­neath her.”

Picture: AAP/Jono Searle THRILLER: Favourite Ex­hil­a­rates wins the Magic Mil­lions 2YO Clas­sic at the Gold Coast yesterday with a ma­jes­tic Ker­rin McEvoy ride.

THE CHAMP: Ker­rin McEvoy cel­e­brates his vic­tory.

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