Godolphin’s warhorse Hartnell (GB) missed winning his final race before retirement in the $2m, Group 1 Seppelt Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday, but it took a Magic Wand (IRE) under Ryan Moore to deny him.
Magic Wand ran in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup over 3200m on Tuesday and while the result was a tenth place the five-year-old Galileo mare had no real chance in a slowly run race that did not bring her into the sharp end of the race. Yet she still finished only 3 3/4L from the winner Vow And Declare.
Backed up by Aidan O’Brien, the well-travelled and credentialled Magic Wand was given every opportunity on Saturday by Moore tracking Gailo Chop (FR) and John Allen in the lead and Hartnell and Hugh Bowman in second after Bowman had expertly followed Gailo Chop across from barrier 14.
Left to right Melody Belle (NZ), Magic Wand (IRE) and Hartnell (GB), picture Quentinjlang.com
These three took the field at even sectionals through to the final turn and then the crowd held its collective breath as Bowman moved Hartnell up on the outside of Gailo Chop at the 400m to take over. Moore did the same with Magic Wand to the outside of Hartnell.
These two moved away from the rest with Magic Wand forging ahead with 375m to run while Hartnell valiantly stuck to the task inside the mare. With 200m to run the margin was a 1/2L between them.
Just it looked like they would finish in this order Melody Belle (NZ) and Opie Bosson appeared further out on the track after commencing a run from the rear at the top of the straight that still had the mare last at the 400m. Right on the line Melody Belle snatched second from Hartnell.
Magic Wand though had taken the race for her own Group 1 after six previous placings at this level in four separate countries including running second to stablemate Magical (IRE) in the Irish Champion Stakes and Bricks And Mortar (USA) in the Arlington Million.
The margin was 1L over the $3.20 favourite Melody Belle (Commands) and Bosson with a short head to Hartnell (Authorized) and a short neck to Life Less Ordinary (IRE) and Nash Rawiller in fourth. There was 2L to Fifty Stars (IRE) in fifth.
The crowd applauded both the winner and Hartnell as he returned for one final time.
Magic Wand (IRE), picture Quentinjlang.com
“That is her third run now (in Australia) and that is the best ground she has gotten. The first day at Moonee Valley was not ideal for her. She really really wants top of the ground. She actually ran very well for fourth,” said travelling foreman TJ Comerford.
“And at the same time she actually ran a good race in the Melbourne Cup as well. It was a great piece of work. It was great that she won today. In fairness we all fancied her. She is a good mare and she showed it there.
“I told Aidan that she ate up well. On Wednesday morning was when we had to nominate. Aidan said if she had eaten up and done well then run. It wasn’t unexpected.
“Aidan is going to keep her in training next year. You never know she might come back here again,” he said.
“She is a wonderful mare. She has been very unfortunate not to win a Group One before today. I would say that is probably Galileo’s record now, for the number of individual Group One winners, and they are just so tough and honest these horses.
“The team that looks after her, TJ, they have done a wonderful job. She’s had three runs, the Cox Plate, The Melbourne Cup and she has come out again and you just have to say that she is a very tough, courageous, high class mare that had her day today.
“They are all important, everywhere, and they are never easy to come across. Riding for an unbelievable stable that have unbelievable staff, everyone does everything and I am very lucky to ride these horses,” he said.
The time was 2.01.82 on the Good 4 track with the final 600m in 35.04. Magic Wand paid $5.00 on both fixed odds and the NSW tote.
Magic Wand, out of the Dansili mare Prudenzia, was winning for the third time from 21 starts and with her nine placings she has earned stakes of $4,753,856 for Coolmore and associates.
Ryan Moore and Magic Wand, picture Quentinjlang.com
Mackinnon Stakes, photo finish picture Racing.com