Meryl stakes Magic Millions Classic claims

Sydney filly Meryl staked a claim for the $2 million Magic Millions Classic at the Gold Coast in two weeks with a commanding victory in the Group 3 B J McLachlan Stakes at Doomben on Saturday.

Heavily backed, Meryl, ridden by Christian Reith, looked to have plenty in reserve in her three-quarter length win over the fast finishing Queenslander, Hopes Eternal.

Witherspoon was third, a further neck away.

Rosehill trainer Lee Curtis mapped out a plan for the Magic Millions Classic back in September but it went astray when the filly failed to place in the Listed Gimcrack Stakes at Randwick.

Curtis sent the daughter of Epaulette for an immediate break and gave her two barrier trials ahead of her Brisbane debut.

“She wasn’t at her peak for the Gimcrack but she has thrived in the three days she’s been up here,” Curtis.

“I’m very pleased and proud she’s finally in the Magic Millions.

“It’s going to be a tough race but we’re having a go.”

Curtis praised Reith for a perfect ride on Meryl.

“Christian didn’t think there was a lot of pace in this race but I was happy when he said he’d take a sit behind the pace,” he said.

“There’s heaps of improvement from her and she’s just coming into her own."

Earlier a change of training routine helped Just Orm rediscover his best form in the Benchmark 75 Handicap (1110m).

Ridden by Jim Byrne, Just Orm powered home to down Boomwaa by three-quarters of a length with Colinelle third, a nose away.

Just Orm had a year off after being injured in last year’s Magic Millions Classic won by Capitalist and appreciated the fast tempo set up by early leaders Colinelle and Darktown Strutter.

Trainer Tony Gollan believes Just Orm has found his best distance after registering his fourth win from 13 starts.

“He jumped well today and I think 1100 metres is his right trip as he just struggles at 1200 metres,” Gollan said.

Byrne said he was confident of a strong showing from Just Orm despite his previous eighth at Doomben on December 2.

“I expected him to race well after Tony (Gollan) changed his work around,” Byrne said.

“He was caught deep last run but the run before was quite good.”

Adelaide jockey Jamie Kah continued her Queensland love-affair by taking out The Provincial Series Final (1350m) on the Jack Duncan-trained Stonecast.

Kah came to Brisbane for the Origin Jockeys Series and has won four races during her summer stint including the Listed Brisbane Handicap on Cantbuybetter two weeks ago.