Lindsay Park have set their sights on a showdown with sprint superstar Chautauqua after Vega Magicannounced himself as a genuine contender for the inaugural Everest with a stunning Darley Goodwood (1200m) win at Morphettville on Saturday.
The former Perth galloper was making his debut for the stable and trainer David Hayes said the four-year-old had put the writing on the wall with some impressive track work at Euroa and several slick jumpouts, drawing comparisons to Newmarket Handicap (1200m) winner Redkirk Warrior.
But even he was blown away with Vega Magic’s win in the $1 million Group 1, which came courtesy of a brilliant ride from jockey Craig Williams.
Vega Magic ($4.80) raced outside leader and stable mate Faatinah and while he appeared to have been collared by tough filly Missrock ($31) inside the final 300m, rallied late to score victory by three-quarters of a length.
Hayes said he would discuss options for the gelding with connections but suggested his preference would be to spell before embarking on a campaign geared towards a start in the $10 million Everest at Randwick on 14 October, provided he can attract the support of a slot holder.
“He trialled very well and while you can’t be too confident in a Goodwood of this class, he had a lot of the Redkirk Warriors about him before he won the Newmarket and the track work he was doing suggested he had to be an outstanding horse,” Hayes said.
“He did one gallop up our hill at Lindsay Park which had to be seen to be believed.
“We were going to run him in the race Tashbeeh won (at Flemington) but his work was so good that we changed our mind and decided to come here.
“We’ll probably back off him because I think he’d be an ideal horse for The Everest and there might be someone out there with a ticket that might want to share with us.
“It’s a good mountain to climb.”
The win – Williams’ maiden Goodwood victory – was the third leg of a Morphettville quartet for the star jockey who said he was grateful for the opportunity to partner the son of Lope De Vega.
After earlier wins on I’ll Have A Bit and Exocet, Williams also collected the day’s final race, the Group 3 Proud Miss Stakes (1200m), on talented filly Furhyk for Lindsay Park.
“David, Ben and Tom gave me the opportunity to get a feel for this horse when he arrived over and when they bought him to Flemington I jumped on him the two times and just loved the way that he went,” Williams said.
“He is very professional and very exciting and I think next preparation they’ll have a lot of fun.”
Jockey Brad Rawiller was disappointed with the performance of race favourite Black Heart Bart who wilted over the final furlong to finish in seventh position, suggesting the gelding may be looking for further than 1200m.
“We had a beautiful run and while we were closer than what we envisaged, they weren’t going that quick and coming the turn it was perfect, but he just didn’t come underneath me with a sharp sprint to be in the race,” Rawiller said.
“To me, we were under pressure in the straight and he didn’t switch on so it felt like it might be too short for him now.