Waller claims first Magic Millions Classic
Champion trainer Chris Waller broke new ground in his magnificent career when he claimed his first Magic Millions 2YO Classic with Shaquero at the Gold Coast.
Ridden by Hugh Bowman, Shaquero ($13) settled just off the speed before hitting the lead soon after straightening and holding a late challenge from Alpine Edge ($8.50) to win by 1-1/4 lengths.
She’s All Class ($3.90), a stablemate of Shaquero, ran home strongly to finish third 1-1/4 lengths away.
Because of Covid-19 border restrictions, Waller was unable to be at the Gold Coast to witness one of the major milestone of his illustrious career.
Waller’s Gold Coast stable manager Paul Shailer said the high pressure test in the Millions suited Shaquero ideally.
“He appreciated the nice, hot tempo and he got into a really good rhythm and loomed at the right time of the race,” Shailer said.
“He showed a really explosive turn of foot. He’s a classy colt, very athletic and a really good type to go with it.”
Shaquero’s Millions campaign was in disarray a month ago when he finished seventh of eight runners in the B.J. McLachlan Stakes at Eagle Farm.
“He raced a little bit fresh and ungenerously at Eagle Farm so we added the tongue tie and he responded well to that,” Shailer said.
Bowman was confident when Shaquero was travelling comfortably in fifth spot on the fence before angling into the clear on the home turn.
“He benefited from that hot speed early,” Bowman said.
“Barrier one was certainly a key ingredient to our success today but full credit to Chris Waller, he’s generally not a back-up trainer.
“Starting this horse last week might’ve just been the key to getting him relaxed into a rhythm that we saw today.
“The high pressure suited him and near the line he started to stargaze so there’s more to come with him.”
Bowman and Waller’s combination with the mighty Winx is etched into racing folklore.
He believes the Magic Millions could prove to be the foundation for Waller to dominate feature two-year-old races in the years ahead.
“It’s the next frontier for us as a team,” Bowman said.
“Chris has built an amazing training system not only in New South Wales but along the eastern seaboard and I can only see that growing as we move into the next decade.”
Shaquero was Bowman’s third win in the 2YO Classic after Bradbury’s Luck (2005) and Mimi Le Brock (2007), equalling the record held by Mick Dittman and Chris Munce.