Quackerjack lands opener to earn a tilt at the Magic Millions

Sydney 2-year-old events around the Festive Period have traditionally raised the juvenile standard up a cog or two and the opening event on Saturday's Randwick program in Sydney looked as strong as any race staged for the division since the Breeders‘ Plate and Gimcrack Stakes in late September.

Contested by a dozen quality 2-year-olds, the $100,000, ATC New Years Day at Royal Randwick Plate (1100m) had some quality horseflesh in the line-up and was always going to prove a fascinating contest.

Besides the fact that top-weight Legislation had created such a favourable impression on his debut, a handful of his rivals boasted pedigrees that made the mouths of breeding purists water.

Second-dam of Skyray is no other than the former champion sprinting racemare Special. Similarly, the grand-dam of Reagan is the Golden Slipper winner Merlene. Godolphin’s newcomer Marmaris traces back to Robert Sangster’s celebrated matriarch River Dane. And Everard is a direct descendant of the famous Canadian race filly Avowal.

In the end, it was a youngster that had finished last in a field of 11 in the aforementioned Breeders’ Plate that proved successful when Quackerjack (by Not a Single Doubt) produced a determined late finish to score at handsome double-figure odds.

A last-start winner at Kembla Grange following a 10-week absence from the track after making his debut in the Breeders’ Plate, Quackerjack made it two-from-three to put himself in line for a tilt at the Magic Millions 2YO Classic in a fortnight’s time.

Quackerjack and Koby Jennings deliver out in the middle of the track, picture

$240,000 purchase made by trainer Mark Newnham, Quackerjack left the Randwick horseman in little doubt that the 1200-metre journey will suit the robust colt perfectly and his connections will now head to the Coast Coast in a couple of weeks time with justifiable confidence.

In a race which saw the vast majority of contestants acquit themselves well, Secret Lady (by Choisir) attempted to make all of the running but found the finishing burst of the winner too strong over the closing stages.

Everard (by Sebring) did best of the rest to claim third place, making up solid ground to close late.

The $3.80 second favourite Legislation came home in fourth position after receiving the run of the race and appearing to have every chance, while Granny Red Shoes finishing a close-up fourth.

Significantly, just over 2.6 lengths covered the first six horses past the post, Skyray making up the first half-dozen.

Official margins of the contest were posted as 0.5L by 0.8L, the winner’s time being a very respectable 1m03.38s (last 600m in 34.66s).

Starting prices of the first three horses home were $21.00 Quackerjack, $3.60 fav Secret Lady, and $41.00 Everard.

Quackerjack is raced by Mr F Mittiga, Mrs M Mittiga, Mrs M L Mittiga, Ms D Andrich, Mr A Coluccio, Mr R De Maria, Mr D W Lilley, Mr G G B Macdonald, Ms A L Chin, Dr I Smith, D & L Alford, G1G Racing & Breeding and Nick Vass Bloodstock.

A son of Arrowfield Stud’s outstanding sire Not a Single Doubt, Quackerjack’s third-dam is the Group 3 AJC Gimcrack Stakes winner Mother Duck, herself an ultra-precocious filly that figured in the Magic Millions contest of her generation.

ATC New Years Day at Royal Randwick Plate, photo finish picture ATC