THERE aren’t many country races worth $200,000, let alone virtual maiden events.
But Ballarat will stage such a contest on Sunday, a race which will also have another historic distinction. It is being run right-handed – in the NSW and Queensland style of racing – rather than the left-handed direction which is traditional in Victoria.
The Magic Millions Clockwise Classic is being bankrolled by the Gold Coast-based sales company as a part-promotional venture, part-assistance program to give Victorian-trained two-year-olds the chance to get some experience of competing in the reverse direction before they get sent north to run for the riches on offer at Southport in January, when the Magic Millions headline two-year-old race is staged.
The 1000-metre scamper is, according to Racing Victoria, the first race to be staged right-handed in the state for 65 years.
It has attracted a capacity field, including runners from the leading stables of David Hayes – who had a two-year-old winner at Sandown last Saturday – Mick Kent and Anthony Freedman, as well as Ballarat trainer Darren Weir.
Only two of the runners have had race experience – Hayes’ Gracious Prospect, who ran sixth in the Maribyrnong Plate at Flemington – and debut Ballarat winner Ticket To Toorak, from the stable of Matthew Williams.
The race will also feature a father-and-son jockey rivalry, with Chad Schofield, last year’s Sydney champion apprentice who is now attached to the Hayes yard, aboard Gracious Prospect, while his father Glyn is travelling south to ride Liberty Heights for Sam Kavanagh.
Ballarat Turf Club had to carry out extensive work on revamping the track to pass health and safety conditions to stage the race.
According to RV, Sunday’s race will be the first event run clockwise in Victoria since 1947, when the now defunct Port Fairy club changed its direction to move into line with all the other tracks in the state.
Hitherto there was not a uniform direction, with several courses racing the right-handed way, including Warrnambool, Bendigo, Bairnsdale and Sale.
The finish line for the Ballarat race will be around the 250-metre mark of the home straight.
Special gallops have been staged in the lead-up to the race, with a trial last week won by Mark Riley’s Reaan filly I’m Too Sexy, a contender on Sunday when she will be partnered by Luke Currie.
■Champion jockey Frankie Dettori has put his hands up and accepted that he will be banned at a forthcoming hearing before the disciplinary committee of France-Galop.
The findings of the French racing authority’s medical committee at Dettori’s drugs inquiry on Tuesday have been passed on to the disciplinary committee.
Dettori is reported to be preparing himself for the imposition of a global suspension at a second hearing on a date still to be fixed, but which is thought likely to be early December.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.